When I cross paths with hard core rock, I most often find myself intrigued by how bands strive to make themselves stand out in a genre where songs and styles tend to be formulaic and rather interchangeable. However, I earned a well-deserved steel-toe to the dome in my under-estimating Long Island’s Provider.

I had a chance to listen to the 5 track offering from Life To Live Records, Wasteland, earlier this week, and strange things began to happen. By no coincidence, my chest hair has tripled in both volume and thickness. I played it through my stereo a little too loud, and my neighbor got pregnant. I had overwhelming urges to tear my apartment to pieces and get my face tattooed. Approach this record with caution as it is the epicenter of your neighborhood’s Testosterone Earthquake.

In all seriousness, my expectations were low, as I had broken the cardinal rule and made up my mind before I pushed play. Turns out, it didn’t matter. I only made it through the first 12 measures of “Bonekeeper” before I stopped the track, hooked up my big boy speakers, and started over like I meant it. Two major things jumped out to me about this band right away.

First off – They are legit. We live in an age where three hours with Garageband can earn a Grammy. My hat goes off to any band who makes the investment of time, sweat and skill to write and play music. However, Provider is free of pretense. The message is clear: They are harder than me; and they are harder than you. Justin Ferguson’s vocals sound like he’s been sipping on Drain-O for 5 hours and he never backs down. The dual guitars of Andrew Kadet and Dylan Tobia bring the heaviest, most bad-ass elements of Southern Rock tradition, slam them together with gut churning arena metal and pipe it into a hot, sweaty underground. The backbone rhythm section of Zach Sternlieb and Dylan Glicanic on bass and drums, respectively, bring out a tight and gritty sound that makes my inner child grin with destructive intent.

Secondly – There is no technology known to man that would accurately capture, on recording, what it must be like to see these guys tear it up in some hot, crowded basement filled with cheap beer and tattoos. Simply put, Wasteland alone will never scratch that itch, but it sure as hell will give you the rash.

Through songs like “Heavy Soul” and “Curses” the boys from Provider add layers and layers of intensity upon one another, seemingly challenging listener to see who breaks first. In the end, it’s clear to see, it ain’t gonna be the boys from Long Island.