The Handshake Murders
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The Handshake Murders

Band Metal Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Terrorizer Magazine"

The opening bars of 'Dissector,' the first track on Arkansas' The Handshake Murders debut, will have you double-taking the CD credits wondering whether Sean Ingram has a new band, so similar is the visceral scream of THM frontman Jayson Holmes to the unmistakable tones of the erstwhile Coalesce vocalist. Musically, however, THM are a more technical proposition than Coalesce's dirt-laden grooves, a cross between the shape-shifting, clinical mathematics of A Life Once Lost and Norma Jean's staccato noise. And yes, the overall effect is thoroughly engaging. 'Usurper' proves to be an unexpected gem, the spiralling bounce of 'Mind Bender' summoning a Meshuggah-esque groove to underpin Holmes' freociously unrelenting vocals. A surprising and refreshing album then, and a find for those preferring their noise to come with a brain matching its brawn.
- Leander Goldsmith


Imitators they may be, but The Handshake Murders are too good at what they do to be dismissed as just that. "Dissector" opens the album with an unfinished game of hide and seek with the downbeat. "Mind Bender" dares the hardcore kids to keep up with its hit parade of breakdowns, each combustible enough to carry an entire Norma Jean song by itself. And "Apostate" and "Myopia" slay all Matrix-style, freezing their riffs mid-stream, spinning them around, speeding them back up and then blowing them apart.

Every down stroke, palm mute and double-kick roll adds heft to a tightly coiled rhythmic bludgeon, giving Usurper an oppressively brutish, tense and Neanderthalic momentum. The consistency gets tiring, especially when combined with Holmes's unvarying (and unintelligible) vocal style, so the taut, thirty-two-minute runtime is welcome. That's long enough to decide whether Usurper is a defibrillator for a moribund metalcore scene or another indication that the genre's heart has already stopped beating. I'll go with the former-if only because The Handshake Murders sound mean enough to hunt me down and kill me if I don't. - Ethan Rosenbloom


Bury The Effigy - Tree of Woe Records (2000)
Essays on the Progression of Man - Southern Death Records (2005)
Usurper - Goodfellow Records (2007)



The music of defeat, of mud and ash, the handshake murders, this is what we are. We are thread and flesh clinging to processed bodies and encompassing desire. We are nowhere. We are arkansas. We are the singular erratic formation of a decade and competence, a journey of crippling respiration and dispersing cries of hope. We are a juggernaut splintering the future. We are human, and we are increase.