Artist of the day: Injustice System
In a genre where too many bands sound exactly the same, Tampa hardcore punk trio Injustice System is quickly making a name for themselves.
They formed about a year as guitarist Justin Arnold, drummer Andy Stern and singer Robson Souza were trying to get a different project started. In that other band, which ultimately never materialized, Stern was playing bass and Souza was drumming. The three soon realized that this offshoot was a functioning band, and before too long, Injustice System, a.k.a. INJ/SYS, was off and running.
INJ/SYS’s minimalist approach (just vocals, guitar and drums; no bass) and short songs (they average about one minute each, with a few clocking in under 20 seconds) belie their intricate nature. Chunky guitar riffs and chords hammered out in precession with tight, lighting-fast drumming form the foundation for the band’s music.
They also cram a lot into their spitfire songs.
“We don’t have a verse-chorus-verse-chorus.” Arnold said. “We have a lot of different riffs in one song. It’ll be a minute song with five different riffs.” Add to that tempo changes mixed with unexpected stops and starts, and INJ/SYS begins to stand out from most of the bands with whom they share bills.
On top of the whirlwind music, Souza rhythmically barks his vocals (think Henry Rollins’ early days in Black Flag), railing against the socio-political power structure.
This is more than another group of kids who just started playing their instruments. The members are in their late 20s and mid 30s, and all have been playing for quite some time. Arnold may be new to the guitar, but he’s been playing bass for years. Stern says that he is an “excellent bassist.”
“The coolest thing about punk and hardcore is accessibility,” said Arnold. “I never played guitar. I still don’t claim to play guitar. Someone was like, 'You can play guitar by just holding two strings down together.’”
Stern has been drumming around town since his college days in the early ’90s, playing in all kinds of bands, but always gravitating back towards his punk roots. Currently, he also drums in Porch Fire.
Singer Souza is a longtime drummer, but has been itching to do the frontman thing for some time. He and Arnold have been in various bands together and have yet another project that they are prepping for its first show.
“He is by far, probably the best frontman I’ve ever played with,” Stern said of Souza.
Added Arnold: “The way he presents the lyrics, his flow, I think he’s a great frontman. I feel lucky to be in a band with him.”
-- Gabriel Loewenberg, tbt*. Photo: Nicole Kibert / elawgrrl.com.