Album of the Week:

C.H.E.W. In Due Time (2020) Review by Ben Goldstein

Following their 2018 LP Feeding Frenzy, Chicago hardcore band C.H.E.W. is back with their new EP, In Due Time, and it may be their strongest release yet.

When I first started listening to punk, I didn’t care as much about the musical skill of the musicians as I did their ability to play loud and aggressively; I wanted to feel a certain way. I still have a soft spot for the untamed, DIY sloppiness of bands like the Mentally Ill and the Germs, but I’ve learned to appreciate technical skill over the years. C.H.E.W. stands out to me in the realm of modern punk because they bring the noise with unparalleled musicianship. Their approach to hardcore sits in the threshold between conventional and unconventional. They do their own thing and also stay true to that which makes the genre great. While I hear traces of traditional hardcore acts like Negative Approach and Die Kreuzen (and even some D-beat) when listening to In Due Time, no comparison can accurately capture the spirit of C.H.E.W. and the forceful catharsis this EP pressures its listeners into experiencing.

Doris Jeane spews lyrical angst like Poly Styrene dialed to eleven — or perhaps a snarling feral creature. The opener, “Knucklehead,” thrusts you forward into ten minutes of what will likely prove to be some of the rawest punk of the year. Punishing drum fills on “King Kurtis” will make you convulse, and the transition into “Toxoplasmosis,” a slower, heaving beast of a song, could not be more seamless. The satirical “Baby Don’t Fear the Reaper” will do more than relieve you of any fear you might have of shuffling off this mortal coil; it’ll make you want to fight the reaper! And lastly, “Noise Square,” arguably the best song on the EP, features Jeane shouting schoolyard-taunting vocals in a murder hornet’s nest of fuzzed-out guitars.

If you don’t listen to punk, In Due Time will awaken something in you — and if you already do, it’ll make you fall in love with the genre all over again.