|2. || Sing, I'll Sway
|3. || True Story
|4. || Burn Again
Fighting The Urge To Start Fires
7" | INIT-04
The four-song debut release from possibly the best new band in the Minneapolis area. Featuring ex-members of Ereshkigal and the Kinship, this six-piece plays emotional hardcore that's both screamy and melodic, proving that hardcore can still be catchy. Clear vinyl for mailorders, while it lasts (ltd. to 100)!
A fantastic record but unfortunately ill-fated. Great melodic hardcore made by a bunch of kids mostly from my hometown of Mankato. They had a ton of potential, but they made some questionable career moves (turning down a tour with Planes Mistaken For Stars) and then they had member changes and called it quits. Seriously a great live band and a good release.
First pressing (March 2002): 500 black vinyl. Pressed at United Record Pressing. Hand-assembled gatefold packaging, all hand numbered. The first 50 or so sold by the band had a CD-R copy included in a sleeve glued inside the 7" cover.
Second pressing (March 2003): 100 clear vinyl, 400 black vinyl. Pressed at United Record Pressing. Printed glossy covers/inserts.
"Fuck this is good!" was my initial thought when i listened to this record. I was stunned and thought the music was so outstanding that i started shaking. Slowly but steady the enthusiasm started fading. It was clear to me that this might not be the best record in the whole world, and i got rid the thought that i might never hear anything better than this. But the fact is: this is really good. So how does it sound then..other than good? Well..this is punk rock, punk rock that twist and turn on the concept of punk. The whole record is like a blackboard painted with the big emo brush, and you know I DO NOT talk about bands like Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, Dashboard Confessional or something similar, its more driving and highflying punk that fits with bands such as Ordination of Aaron, Constatine Sankhati and such when those bands ruled the world. And if these references weren't enough, these guys paint some extra with some guitar-loving that reminds me on how Yaphet Kotto build their songs, lots of rambling with long droning parts that end in a cascade of feeling and screaming words on top of almost silent music. After a while you do not think it can get any better, but then the bands start to flirt with bands like Saetia with lots of screaming. Outstanding! Enough name dropping, cause this doesn't help unless you know the bands mentioned above, but i strongly advise you to check up on all mentioned bands cause they have created songs out of this world. The only drawback have to be the cover which is not that cool, but one can always make you own if you're tired of the common one. Use your imagination. Due to the reason this records is numbered (i have #118) i can tell you that 500 of this where made, so you better get up from your sofa and hurry to order this." (translated by Kjetil Holstad)
- Jon P. Svensson
"Rock-influenced hardcore from the midwest. Apparently there's some ex-members of Ereshkigal and the Kinship. Rhythmic and driving with a long of sung vocals; very technical, yet simultaneously anthemic. A nice listen, but not much to sink one's teeth into."- Tim Sheehan
"We have too many reviews of weird shit going up today so I thought I had better re-dress the balance for readers who are scared of all those other records with some more traditional Collective fare! Mahkato is an emo band with some melodic tendencies. The songs are nicely varied and don't get too samey. It starts off with "Pendulum" which has mathy rhythms before settling down into a very melodic chorus that brings to mind Small Brown Bike. Overall their sound is a lot more complex, perhaps even techy compared to SBB, but they go in for gruff shouted vocals at times. There are 4 songs in total on here, the others have a kind of darker atmosphere to Pendulum, much less tuneful. It has cool breathless talky bits that are very emo. "True Story" is a crunchy and powerful track, it reminds of various mid 90's emo obscurism. I could throw around names like Grain or whatever but you probably don't care unless you are totally obsessed with that era's music. And "Burn Again" has a brooding twinkle part that I liked a lot. Overall this is a good solid 7", without being downright amazing. I have had it for ages but could never really work out what to write about it. It's just a 7" that I like. Oh well!"- Andy Malcolm
"This is the CD re-release of the original 7" and on hearing it, it's not surprising to see why it needed a repress - this is impressive stuff. Mahkato play innovative, screamy, and powerful hardcore with dual vocals that double up together to create some compelling layers of speaking and yelling. The music twists around with the hardcore cascading in heavy torrents around a few subtler melodic parts that all fits tightly together into a really solid and convincing sound. I guess there's a whole bunch of bands that Mahkato could draw references to - right from early Boy Sets Fire through to Orchid and Books Lie - there's plenty of tried-and-tested ground covered here, but what the fuck, Mahkato do it with style."- Russell Remains
Punk Planet #53:
"When I popped this in the ol' one-speaker stereo, the first notes suggested a quirky math rock band. "Chicago," I wrote in my notes. Then screamy vocals kicked in. "Ah, a hardcore band," I scribbled, only to cross that out when the melodic chorus came in. And so on. For the most part, Mahkato is good at bridging the gap between macho metal and emotive floor-writhing. Yes, they're a hardcore band, but their music suggests openness to influences beyond the stereotypical ones. All four songs are well crafted: Just as the music threatens to unravel, it shifts into something new. "Pendulum," with its initial jerky rhythms and balance of screams and sweetness, is the album standout. Churning guitars and introspective lyrics in "True Story" are also inpressive, but oh god, the spoken-word section is a misstep. The band is at its best when it steps away from the growling and yelping - it's all been done before - and focuses on the unexpected. Judging from the energy captured in this recording, this band probably puts on some great shows." (Reviewer Highlight)
- Annie Tomlin
Alternative Press #176:
"Who? Minneapolis pyromaniacs who are putting the screaming back in emo. Sounds Like? Dynamic hardcore that alternates between sensitive spoken-word sections and all-out metal assaults. How Is It? Chaotic, emotional and packed with enough changes to make tough guys in the pit do a stutter step. Kindred Spirits: Converge, Still Life, Kid Kilowatt."
Slug And Lettuce #74:
"Mahkato's recipe: take half a pound of late-90's Ebullition records, add half a cup of rock n' roll and just a pinch of pop, bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees and serve with your favorite carbonated beverage (alcoholic or otherwise). Check them out in one of your town's basement venues. They're good."- TNT
"This is a band that I was excited to hear about as the guitarist used to be the drummer of Ereshkigal, an evil, brutal, spazstic, & outright amazing hardcore band that existed a few years back...& hardly anyone knew they existed. I absolutely worship that band however as when I saw them in 99, they were & still are one of the best bands I've ever seen live. So anyways, this band isn't quite the same as Ereshkigal, nor do I want to compare them to that band because living up to being as rokken would be near impossible...but they are really, really good. They are a screamo-type band from Minneapolis & these guys are really good, catchy song-writers. The band isn't really original at all, kinda reminding me of older Forstella Ford & Joshua Fit For Battle...but they are still pretty killer. Maybe this would interest you...I think it's good, & that should be all that matters."- JD
Wonka Vision Magazine:
"Sharing a label with the likes of Ten Grand and the Spirit of Versailles could be rather intimidating, but when Mahkato screams "so now we’ll sing it even louder" it appears that maybe this won't be a problem. This brand of screaming and yelling and thrashing and positively barraging the listener with sound and fury is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. The emotion is palpable and impossible to ignore. The record opens rather meekly and gives little hint of the ferocity that is to follow shortly. What is also surprising is that the lyrics are actually understandable without reading and memorizing the words. After the first hint of the chorus it's impossible not to scream along "pendulum pendulate." In the next "song about a song" they admit, "I know this hurts to hear," but even so it really is not possible to turn away. The rest of the album is typically cathartic, near emotional breakdown fodder, but the rawness of it still connects the listener. Plenty of bands are doing this very same scream and speak, crash and cry thing, and Mahkato is really no different. This platform works because when done right, as they do it, it has a magnetic power to connect the listeners to those aches within the lyrics and within themselves. It can be even more powerful than what Mahkato presented, but the intelligible lyrics have an important function, and any band that is candid like this deserves respect, no matter what the conventional outcome."- Erika Owens
"The first song off this four-track CD goes a long way towards introducing Mahkato's unique sound and musical paradox. The first track brings you in with a smooth, clean sound that seems more native to a lounge act than to a rock band. Then the vocals start and strike a contrast that remains prevalent in all four tracks. Guttural rasping set over smooth guitars. How does this work? At first the contrast draws attention to the sound, as does any kind of music that can't initially be separated into a specific genre. Also, the abrasive vocals provide a clear and unavoidable understanding of the lyrics, which unfold into desperate rants steeped with self-hate and frustration.
"Pendulum Pendulate Remind me that I've become what I've hate," begins the chorus of the first track, the only one that seems to follow a verse/chorus pattern, but not very strictly. None of the four songs break the four-minute mark, with the shortest clocking in at 2:58. This time crunch doesn't really leave space for repeating anything. Mahkato's dual guitar parts continually change so they keep you guessing where the song is going next, yet there is still a strong sense of unity within the song. The delivery of the vocals is just as varied as the scurrying of the guitars. Sometimes whispering sometimes rasping, sometimes screaming, sometimes speaking, and sometimes even singing, the dual vocalists of Mahkato come at you from a variety of directions. The lyrics rarely form rhymes and rarely describe anything using more than a couple of words. But the impact is maintained, and even amplified, by the realism these raw confessions harness. We connect to it as the unformed, unpoetic language of our impulsive minds; "I should be thinking this is you thinking things I should be thinking. This is true fascination. This is true motivation." And "With a devil on each shoulder. With ill intentions. The first five chambers were empty. This one is not." Mahkato really piles a lot into a 3-minute song. "Fighting The Urge To Start Fires" is a violently impatient struggle to vent emotions. Merging the polar contrasts of rasping vocal styles and smooth, intricate guitar riffs bass and drums, Mahkato resists all attempts to be lumped into a single genre, and thus forces a second listen, a third listen and a fourth listen. At a total of 13:16, giving Mahkato a trial on your home stereo truly is a low- risk investment. And if you ask anyone, the reward of discovering emerging local bands is very much worth it." - John Behling