Southern California’s the Poisoning brings us a debut 7” that doesn’t sound like anything else happening at the moment, at least that I know of. While a lot of bands fuse metal and punk these days, the way these elements come together on these four tracks is a far cry from the “thrash metal with mosh breaks” style the words “metallic punk” might make you think of. Instead, the Poisoning’s approach reminds me of cult Japanese metal-punk release from the 80s… I’m thinking of records like the Randy Uchida Group 7”, the Bones’ In a Sick Society, or the Execute’s An Omen of Fear. Like those records, the Poisoning’s EP drips with spooky vibes, with a Christian Death-style creepiness that not too many bands these days capture. Their approach is also similar to those Japanese records in that they have gravelly vocals, stripped-down and punky songs and arrangements, metallic guitar riffing, and playing that is metronomically tight. While a lot of bands who are influenced by 80s Japanese punk go for a noisy and chaotic sound, the Poisoning has a clean and full-sounding mix, which is much closer to the professional production jobs on many of those records. I wouldn’t call the Poisoning an homage to that style… in fact, I can’t even say whether it’s a direct influence, but if you have a taste for that quirky, mid-80s metallic punk sound, the Poisoning will scratch an itch very few contemporary bands can.