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Young punk act makes a Threat

Out back stands an 8-by-10-foot padded cell.

They made it themselves, hammered together out of plywood and quarter pallets, walls lined with couch cushions and remnants of old beds stripped of their innards.

On a recent Tuesday evening, three-fifths of Vegas punk antagonists Sounds of Threat are looking at their creation, standing in the backyard of lead guitarist Aaron Prieto’s house.

The cell was made for a video the group recently shot for the song “Mental Instability,” one of a dozen ragers from their recently released full-length debut, the bracing “Creature of Habit.”

The band’s creation represents more than just a prop for a promo clip, it symbolizes the way this bunch does things: on their own, hands dirty, tunes grittier still.

“Creature of Habit” embodies all this, a fierce, tightly honed statement of intent. “We’re under attack!” frontman Jesse “Anarchy” Young roars near the end of the record, his voice choked with desperation, singing with such vehemence, you can practically hear the blood pounding in his temples. “They make us react.”

And that’s exactly what this record sounds like: a violent reaction to their surroundings, a way of blowing off steam lest it scald them raw.

Songs surge forth with such velocity and forward momentum, they seem perpetually on the verge of flying apart, held together by Young’s bellowed invocations and the monster chops of drummer Chad Henley, a classically trained musician who you might see playing in an orchestra someday.

“They wanted us to record the songs slower,” rhythm guitarist-singer Amy Pate remembers of the initial recording sessions.

That didn’t last long.

“We don’t play the songs slow,” Prieto explains from his living room, the walls brightened by fliers from past gigs. “We play fast.”

The band was formed five years ago by high school buddies who just wanted to jam. They played house shows and DIY all-ages venues like now-shuttered East Side Joe’s because they were too young to play bars.

They did it for kicks, not for cash.

Bassist Tyler Whitacre grins when recalling the band’s debut gig at the Double Down, when they got paid for the first time.

“The guy handed me an envelope, ‘It’s your pay,’ ” he remembers. “I’m like, ‘We get paid for this?’ That was so weird to me.”

Since then, the band has signed to Squidhat Records and is their most promising young act, even though getting a record deal was never a goal for the group.

“We just wanted some kind of constructive way of letting out our aggressions,” Pate says. “Otherwise, you punch somebody in the face.”

Now, they have songs for that.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.

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