Korean Rock Recall: Observe The Raw Power Of DIEALRIGHT Singer Chae Song Hwa's Old Band Rule Destroyer On 'Get In Tension' [AUDIO]
Chae Song Hwa is a veteran of the Korean indie underground.
Most recently, she's been fronting DIEALRIGHT, a post-punk trio that's been steadily gaining attention. Before that, she sang with Midnight Smokin' Drive, once described as "Korea's answer to Joan Jett and the Black Hearts."
But before all that, Chae was in Rule Destroyer, one of Korea's first all-female punk bands. While her more recent efforts have displayed the proficiency and confidence that comes with her kind of experience, Rule Destroyer's energy was undeniable.
On one of their only recorded songs, "Get In Tension," Rule Destroyer showed that fire and urgency alone can be a driving force in music. Over the song's scant two-and-a-half minutes, Rule Destroyer exhibit power in ways more experienced musicians might not be able to touch.
In spite of having a truly incredible band name, Rule Destroyer are woefully under-documented. They are included on a Korean punk DVD called "Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Punk Rock Show" alongside such acts as the Cockrasher and Suck Stuff. Aside from that, a mysterious demo or EP exists, but is almost impossible to find.
All the better, then, to focus on the musical content we have on hand. "Get In Tension" is a fierce slice of classic riot grrrl aggression, calling to mind the best of early hardcore, before it became codified as a stiff, uptight genre of galloping-racehorse drumming.
In particular, the simple snare drum fill that punctuates each turnaround in the first verse calls to mind the boneheaded toughness of Black Flag, back when Henry Rollins had first joined but hadn't yet grown out his hair.
It's easy to imagine Rule Destroyer adapting the same march-to-the-sea practice regimen that Greg Ginn and company employed when developing the Black Flag material. "Get In Tension" has both the energy of the amateur and the cohesion that can only be summoned by countless hours spent working together to create something solid.
Chae's voice is extremely intense, a hoarse call to arms that never lets up or shows signs of defeat.
This manner of vocalizing wouldn't work in Midnight Smokin' Drive or DIEALRIGHT, but it's these seeds of pugnacity that still exist in Chae's work, albeit in a more melodic form.
Perhaps the best part of this extremely successful song, is the chorus's noisy harmonic shadow, wherein a second guitar adds Sonic Youth-style dissonance to the power chord mayhem. This, perhaps, is the tension Rule Destroyer are speaking of.
Overall, "Get In Tension" succeeds on its energy and drive. This is the sound of musicians pushing themselves, with something to prove.
A reunion show for Rule Destroyer may be too much to hope for and many Chae fans may prefer the sleeker sounds she's been delivering with her more recent acts. However, when watching this singer shine in more celebrated, recent bands, it's good to know she's had the spirit from day one.
Listen to Rule Destroyer's "Get In Tension" RIGHT HERE
Jeff Tobias is a composer, musician and writer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. As of late, he has been researching the history of British free improvisation and fine-tuning his chili recipe.
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