Sabertooth Zombie

Heavy hardcore punk at its ear-splitting finest
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PREVIEW Savage and bloodthirsty as a werewolf in heat under a full moon, Sabertooth Zombie is heavy hardcore punk at its ear-splitting finest. The North Bay quintet mixes overdriven drums and guitar riffs with swampy stoner-metal power chords and a vocalist whose pipes ring with the same rage and ruin as legendary Discharge frontman Cal Morris. Every time this brutal cocktail hits the stage, audiences unravel into throbbing disarray. The flailing limbs, clenched fists, and furious headbanging only add to the band's when-it-rains-it-pours aesthetic.

The group's newest seven-song EP, Dent Face (Twelve Gauge), stares back at you with a cover adorned with infamously crazed Britney Spears fan Chris Crocker. He sports a Sabertooth Zombie shirt, his hands on his miniskirt-clad hips and a shit-eating grin on his face. The music — in stark juxtaposition with Dent Face's tongue-in-cheek representation of a Zombie superfan — careens across the rugged punk rock blacktop with ferocious songs for true Hessians. On the title track, an avalanche of chord progressions creates a snowball effect as the song thrashes and heaves under sarcastic lyrics about hollow-brained contemporary American youth. "Campaign" throws a curveball with multiple tempo changes, trading an enormous double bass drum intro for a cut-time juggernaut riff and rare guitar solo. The number slows to doom-metal pace, swells with a freeform saxophone solo, and ends as suddenly as it began. Such musical twists keep Sabertooth Zombie at the front of the local thrash pack.

SABERTOOTH ZOMBIE With Grace Alley and Prize Hog. Mon/2, 7 p.m., $5. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. (415) 923-0923, www.hemlocktavern.com

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