Sigma

Violence Speaks Louder Than Words
(Shadow Cast Records)

You'd have to search mighty diligently to find another set of hardcore punks who voluntarily put an "FBI Anti-Piracy Warning" on their independently released CD. But Sigma already distinguishes itself as perhaps the only group in any musical genre outside of Up With People to list a "band meaning" on its official Web site -- a six-step dogma with intent to achieve true equality within the fractious punk movement. Step one advocates respecting yourself and others. Steps two and four aim at battling sexism. Step three cannibalizes Casper the Friendly Ghost's credo, "Be kind to every living creature," and step five stresses unity. But step six stands alone in its rough-and-tumble wisdom: "Senseless acts of violence cause more harm than good." Sorta seems out of step with an album whose name makes craven aggression seem like the ultimate argument-settler, and an opening track ("Bonesaw") that's most certainly not about an egalitarian marrow transplant. But who cares -- on songs like "Stars and Fights," this trio rocks like latter-day Ramones. The gargoyle singing ensures you won't mistake Sigma for Boy Scouts, the bass drum pummeling is as frantic as it needs to be, and the bass bottom on the title song vibrates like a ghetto-blastin' car sitting at a traffic light. Even if the lyrics are unintelligible, you gotta believe these guys are kicking ass for a greater good.

 
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