Philadelphia, PA based project Merit Maker is the latest artistic work of artist Joe Stanton. Technically a solo project headed by Stanton, his collaborations with other musicians have most recently resulted in the EP Quarantined, an exploration of modern, hardcore punk themes with an unquestionably dark edge.
Stanton has picked a quality lineup of musicians for this project – the instrumentation is tight and cohesive from beginning to end (though the rapid-fire percussion work from drummer Mikey Horn is particularly impressive). Quarantined radiates pure, raw energy, with its intricate and crunchy guitar riffs and driving rhythms throughout. The songs themselves are short but contain no filler, and each packs its own kind of punch, emulating sounds that are traditional to the genre as well as more boundary-pushing styles that could give this project an alternative label.
Deviant Void is a standout on the EP. Its military-march rhythm and cutting lead guitar intro segue perfectly into a high-energy, classic punk sound that starts to push into more hardcore space at the edges. It’s dark and unique in both execution and production without being inaccessible to less-extreme fans.
Punk fans will feel right at home with Quarantined, but so will those that are looking for something that isn’t afraid to break the mold of expectation. Stanton’s work as Merit Maker shows he’s got a strong, defined grasp on his musical style, but he isn’t afraid to work outside the confines of traditional punk. This all equates to a recipe for success and makes Joe Stanton’s name one that you’d do well to remember, as wouldn’t be surprised to find that this is only the beginning for him.
BELOW: Listen to Quarantined and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Merit Maker by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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