The Third Kind – Man vs Earth Review

As a reviewer, it always feels good when you correctly identify a band’s influences. Hmm, I thought to myself upon first listening to The Third Kind’s Man vs Earth debut, this kind of sounds like All Out WarIt turns out there’s a good reason for that. Formed in 2015, Kind count All Out War guitarist Taras Apuzzo amongst their ranks, along with other members from a slew of New York hardcore bands.1 They began this project in 2015, apparently as a way to mix things up by infusing some science fiction pizzazz into a slab of Empire State crossover thrash. In a time when the title Man vs Earth feels more relevant than ever, how does The Third Kind’s first album fair?

As it turns out, pretty damn well. As expected given their membership, Kind’s foundation is built from the crossover and old school metalcore sound of bands like Ringworm, Integrity, and (of course) All Out War. What’s interesting about them, however, is the way they mix the aggressive power chords and brutish grooves of these bands with a lot of lively and twisting riffs that call to mind Voivod. “Electronic Moon” and “Ill Mechanism” offer a perfect synthesis of these two styles, with winding and dexterous riffs soon giving way to big blunt chugs that hit like a fist to the face. Likewise, the title track charges forward on vibrant chords before driving home its sci fi theme with an exclamation of “We’re all moving to Mars!”

It’s clear these gents know how to write a good song and it helps that they bring a lot of energy to the game. Vocalist Richard Muller sounds particularly inspired, with his gravelly shout oozing with attitude and conviction. Likewise, the guitars of Taras and fellow guitarist Mike Gordon roar with power and sound tighter than a jock strap that shrunk down two sizes in the wash. On both the vocal and instrumental front there’s also quite a bit of variety present. “Some Things Come Back to Me” and opener “Sole Mission” add some intrigue with bouts of moaning clean vocals, with “Some Things” proving particularly cool with its acoustic opening and brief yet boisterous stop-start rhythm.

Yet the album’s crown jewel is easily penultimate track “Power Yields.” Beginning as a jumpy thrash metal song, “Power” quickly transitions into a tight melodic riff before climaxing with some huge and glorious chords that are both the last thing you’d expect and the coolest thing you could hope for at this point in the album. Rather than trying to make things even more epic with the closer, Kind wisely bring it back down to Earth with the quick staccato riffs of “Hail to the Wicked,”2 ending things in the best possible fashion. Throughout the record the clean and vivid production is a perfect fit for the style, with the beefy guitars sounding particularly potent.

At eight songs and only 23 minutes in length, Man vs Earth is a quick listen that comes and goes with a bang. Listening to it, it’s clear these New York hardcore veterans are positively brimming with energy and creativity, packing plenty of great ideas into the album’s runtime. I went in expecting a standard crossover assault but was pleasantly surprised by how many fun twists and turns this record had, not to mention how cohesive and enjoyable the whole thing ended up being. While there are admittedly a few stock moments that don’t do much for me, overall Man vs Earth is a blast of an album that sits right alongside the newest Cro-Mags as a punchy and exciting dose of New York crossover thrash. This is an easy recommendation for fans of the style and I can only hope we hear more from this project in the future.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 26th, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. All of which I will bury in this footnote due to excess name droppage. Drummer Brian Shonen (Bastard Clan, ex-Awkward Thought, On The Offense, Run Like Hell), bassist and vocalist Richard Muller (Vise Massacre, Great Planes, The Last Crime), and guitarist Mike Gordon (Big Gunz, Shiro And The Raw Dogs). Taras is also in Bastard Clan and was formerly in Strap Hangers.
  2. Which is apparently a reworking of a Vise Massacre song.
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