The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Fumes dumpster dives into local scene


Photo Courtesy of Flip Poole

Hattiesburg’s Fumes is more than just enraged vapor – they’re cohesive and consistent with genuine, fresh innovation to hardcore music in town.

Vocalist Ash Smith leads the charge, raving about social annoyances, police and climate change.

Smith believes society acknowledging a problem with the climate is the first step to any progress.

“Nothing will ever change if it’s just something you push to the back of your head because you don’t feel like it’s something you have to think about,” Smith said.

These abrasive messages can’t be performed without the power of the rest of the band: Hampton Martin on drums, Blaine on bass and David Fink on guitar.

The song, ‘Fumes’ sets the tone as the first song on the band’s self-titled tape. Smith’s pinpoint delivery of, “It’s the same thing every day / Decompose / And waste away…,” encapsulates the motivations behind how a hardcore vocalist can feel so angry or betrayed in their vocals.

‘Dumpster Dive’ is a highlight, syncing a guitar riff and continuous snare hits that turn into a drumroll, which almost acts as a curtain reveal for the opening vocal lines, “I don’t care if / I smell like ass! / Dumpster diving / in the trash!”

Blaine’s bass keeps the backbone of the songs steady with a tone reminiscent of a dog growling.

Coming from the dated Jackson, Mississippi hardcore scene, Blaine finds that the influences of these times still impact his playing style today.

“It wasn’t until I started playing in Hattiesburg that I started playing bass, so those hardcore bass tones I heard in Jackson transitioned over with me,” Blaine said. “Something about the higher end, punchy tones stuck out to me.”

Bass riffs sneak their way into the song’s transitions and stand out as heavy, few-second melodies.

Opposite of Blaine, Fink swiftly shreds with dead notes and chaotic pick scrapes all the while standing as still as a statue.

Speed was not his wheelhouse when joining the group, but persistent practice spurred progress.

“It’s definitely fun, but it takes some kind of discipline,” Fink said. “We’ll usually work on a song at a slightly slower pace and get it ironed out as much as we can composition-wise and then say, ‘Cool, now let’s play that but faster.’”

Once the band reaches the ‘cool but faster,’ phase, that’s where discipline matters most.

A prime example is the song, ‘P.S.S.,’ one of the group’s longer takes that fits basically two songs into one, despite running around only a minute and a half.

Fink and Blaine play numerous riffs while Martin’s neck-break drumming serves as a reminder that the tempo should be fierce – even if the guitarists’ fingers start to cramp – find a way to keep up.

Powering through this pain bleeds, figuratively, into the essence of the band and hardcore in general, which is the method in the madness.

“One of us will say, ‘This part needs a slide or some noise, or to even play the same riff but with higher notes.’ I try to keep it consistent, but sometimes it’s a tossup,” Fink said.

To support Fumes, visit Earth Girl Tapes’ Bandcamp page to listen to their self-titled tape.

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