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Pegasus – S/T EP



It’s been 11 years — hard to believe — since Merauder, the greatest of the late New York Hardcore bands, recorded a demo with Eddie Sutton of Leeway singing. The four songs that made up the Eddie demo were not a complete departure from Merauder’s proper albums — rhythmic Slayer riffage, double bass drums, very little quiet — but Sutton’s nuanced, high-pitched and often off-key vocals sounded so out of sorts that they might have turned off some less adventurous listeners. So the demo with the dirty recording stayed ignored outside Woodside and environs for a good half-decade, with many wishing the group stuck with either of its first two singers.

Pegasus, a current band of informal status and formal membership, begin their first seven inch EP with the riff from “Seasons in the Abyss” (the song). It might be the only broad reference on the record, which takes its remaining cues from sufficiently more obscure and sharper points — specifically, the Eddie demo. (Full disclosure: I’m friends with some of the band members, but I am not sure who plays what. I will try to focus only on the record.)

Only Pegasus’ second song, which shares with Merauder a galloping backwards tempo and repurposed ‘80s thrash riffs, really sounds like a tribute to the big band’s little recording. Pegasus rekindles the aura throughout, though. They were not the first Philadelphia band to pay credit — Blacklisted paraphrased lyrics from “Save My Soul” on “Bruising Serenade,” off their first LP1 — and I’m sure there’s an indebted band or two practicing in Hell’s Kitchen at this very moment. But Pegasus and Sutton’s vocals are in close enough octaves that the recordings could pass as cousins, just as two could brunettes pass as sisters in Sweden.

There is some jamming going on, too. There is riff soup: a Life of Agony part syncopated here, a Leeway bridge there. There is some Only Living Witness, and White Devil. Some of it sounds like Vegan Reich (but that might just be me). The recording, pleasantly grimy, softens these cues some. The agile guitars, reined in as a rhythm instrument, are set to tape appropriately. There is a lot going on here, but it’s presented in a nodding, simple way.

Looking back, the special things the Eddie demo did were hard to grasp at first. But over the years, the once-jarring vocals made the heavy music a bit warmer. In the Eddie demo, Merauder, whose records had always sounded assaulting, had made a NYHC record2 as easy to listen to as Leeway’s Open Mouth Kiss. (It took plenty of people a few years to catch up with Leeway, too.) And at the point when neither of the bands were dangerous choices, something changed and listeners now wished other bands’ singers sounded more like Eddie. Eleven years later, it’s happened.


  1. It is at this point I could wax on the subtle charms of the Phillies' on-the-field product and that rescuing diamonds from the rough is a civic virtue there, but I digress.
  2. Not a record, sure, but with the genre, a demo is just as good..