Formed in 2021 with the goal of picking up where Dag Nasty and Faith left off, Destiny Bond make melodic hardcore that doesn’t sacrifice speed or authenticity. On their debut, Be My Vengeance, the Denver five-piece—comprised of singer Cloe Madonna Janzen, guitarists Emily Armitage and Amos Helvey, bassist Rio Wolf, and drummer Adam Croft—slash their way through galvanizing songs about fostering unity within their scene, reclaiming space for queer kids, and embracing your whole identity no matter what gets in the way. It’s 19 minutes of music that’s made to get stuck in your head.

Be My Vengeance is ripe with empathy and love. On “The Glow,” from which the album takes its title, Janzen sings like she’s lacing her fingers through yours: “Watch over me/I promise to watch over you.” Elsewhere, she speaks to the power of rejecting imposed social narratives, choosing family, and laying the foundations for one’s true home. Midway through “Harmony,” she tells a friend that scars represent healing and encourages them to practice forgiveness: “I hope there’s more love each new day you see/You’ll find all that you need.”

But don’t miss the fangs sheathed in Destiny Bond’s kind smile. Be My Vengeance barrels ahead with brute force thanks to the aggressive rhythm section, yet is full of little surprises: Croft’s last-second pattern change-up on “Mosaic,” the extended jam-turned-noise rock outro of closer “Harmony,” the open-chord guitar pluck and mid-song dip on “Kinetic.” “Pick yourself up off the floor, baby!” Janzen howls on the latter. “You’re taking on the world pound for fucking pound.” The song sounds like a garage rock record torn into pieces and reassembled by memory, all thick bass and distorted blues riffs, and she dances atop it with a type of defiant glee.

Be My Vengeance is a mix of polished and scrappy, the result of recording sessions that went south. The band tracked the majority of its instrumental parts with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Jeff Rosenstock) at Oakland’s Atomic Garden last summer, but were forced to cancel studio time when three members came down with COVID-19. Once they recovered, Destiny Bond tapped Denver engineer Lucas Johannes to help them finish. The extra time encouraged them to add unexpected instruments from Johannes’ arsenal: mandolin, tambourine, shakers. But with Janzen’s voice still damaged from being sick, the recordings feel true to the harsh sound of classic hardcore in a VFW hall. Meanwhile, Armitage and Helvey’s guitars intertwine with slick production that heightens the album’s melodic songwriting, resulting in music that’s accessible even to those who don’t know their John Brannons from their John Josephs.

Destiny Bond are clear about how their lived experience informs their goal of cultivating a community fortified by love. “Blood Chokes,” a discordant song that’s harder and louder than any prior track, serves as their mission statement. Janzen first relays her experience of coming out as a trans woman to her parents before making a pact: “This is for all the trans kids/You’re mine, you’re mine/On my heart all the time.” Though her screams are scratchy and vociferous, the sincerity in her voice is comforting. “We will scream until we have been heard,” she adds later in “Worlds Unseen.” Be My Vengeance is catchy enough to keep that promise.