I guess the only positive thing about this quarantine is the enormous amount of artists, musicians, and bands, gathering together with the purpose to deliver some quality music to keep us sane during the pandemic. You can pick up any genre you desire at a particular moment and discover some creative minds who contributed to the music scene with some outstanding tunes. That’s unquestionably the case with Joe Stanton, a singer/songwriter/bass guitarist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Perhaps he started his musical endeavors as Merit Maker way before pandemics, but he undoubtfully contributed with a brand new extended play appropriately named Quarantined. He previously released a full-length material back in 2019, called Judgement Calls, but it seems Stanton made some drastic/necessary changes in musical direction with Quarantined.
Still, these changes come as a bit of refreshment. On Judgement Calls, Stanton solely relied upon a pop-punk, melodic punk rock, alternative rock sound, while the Quarantined demonstrates a much darker/aggressive side of Merit Maker. This particular EP combines various complementary subgenres to illustrate brighter imagery of the current state of contemporary society. Besides the criticism, Merit Maker also explores mechanisms of human behavior during the pandemic and explains how captivity, solitude, and depression are affecting individuals. A decent portion of these thematics are vividly hearable in thoroughly delicate lyrics, but you’ll unquestionably notice how anxieties are resonating through the music. Hardcore punk was always an appropriate catalyst to express your deepest thoughts and emotions, so Merit Maker entirely relies upon old school hardcore punk maneuvers. However, Stanton gradually adds some melodic hardcore accentuations and acrobatics to spice things up a bit more.
For some weird reason, Quarantined irresistibly resembles me of some mid to late eighties/early nineties hardcore punk bands. Merit Makes undoubtfully reminds me of something Nardcore bands like RKL, Dr. Know, Aggression, Ill Repute, or many other similar groups would eventually record during their careers. Still, these are some minor comparisons to give you the hint about Merit Maker’s sound. This project offers a lot more through some energetic thrashy guitar shreds, robust hardcore punk riffages, thoughtfully assembled melodies, and occasional crossovers into mid-nineties skate punk music. Quarantined would easily serve as a perfect skateboarding session soundtrack, mainly because of the dynamics and catchiness encapsulated within these compositions, which will keep you entertained for a while. Stanton thoroughly planned these numbers and implemented some bright ideas and tremendous musicianship.
Just like on Judgement Calls, Stanton decided to include some guest musicians on Quarantined, such as Zack Seif on guitars, Mikey Horn on drums, and Killa’ Sean as the background vocals. The whole guest musician’s lineup changed on this particular material. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why this recording resonates in an entirely different but ear-appealing manner. Whatever may be the case, Quarantined appears like a decent hardcore punk recording that deserves your utmost attention if you’re into old school hardcore with generous dosages of recognizable Nardcore sound. Quarantined is available at streaming services such as
Spotify, Bandcamp. and Soundcloud.