Release DetailsLABEL Victory
RELEASED ON 2/22/2005
Wake The Dead
posted on 2/2005 By:
The Comeback Kid's latest release, Wake the Dead, is certainly not the least metal album to be reviewed on this site. We get stuff from droners like Sunn O))), progressive popsters like Swan Christy and Karmakanik, and emo-core acts like Armor for Sleep and Hawthorne Heights. Regardless, I just don't feel right reviewing this disc. It's good hardcore for sure, not a monument for the genre, but certainly a strong showing that anybody interested in that scene should investigate. But, it's clear that this band is taking conscious measures to maintain a strictly non-metallic sound and to distance themselves from the stagnating metalcore movement. So, I'll admit from the start, that something feels slightly askew for me as a metal critic trying to review an album that is in many ways an affront to my musical sensibilities.
Firmly based in straightforward melodic punk and beefed up by a dense guitar tone and thick, muted riffing, Wake the Dead is a variety of hardcore that most metal fans are likely unfamiliar with. The songs are built around rudimentary, driving chord progressions which usually build up to an anthemic chorus or simmering resolutions. This formula is executed to great success on the title track with infectious and memorable results. "Partners in Crime" strives for the similar effect. It comes close, but in falling just short displays probably the greatest failing of this album. The songs, while well played, are formulaic to the point of becoming slightly non-distinct. It's clear that the emotional connection the band wishes to establish is sincere, but confined by such forgettable arrangements they fall just short of reaching their full potential. Certain tracks, such as "The Trouble I Love" and "Losing Patience" manage to stick out from the rest for no other reason than the fact they feature the band filling out the template with some of their better riffs and choruses, not because the band takes any intriguing risks with their songwriting.
Perhaps the greatest selling point for some, and the biggest turnoff for many, is the lack of both mock death metal barks or breakdowns to be found on this album. It's refreshing, for nothing else than the fact that it shows that while the band may not take many risks with their own compositions, they won't stoop to catering to such a tired and overplayed trend. Stripped of thick necked Hatebrooding, or third rate Maidenisms, Wake the Dead will undoubtedly earn points for conveying such a pure and unadulterated product.
So this is certainly a solid album and far more admirable than the hordes of gothen-clones that appear in our mailbox. It's got heart, and tons of cred, but it also has a few songwriting issues to deal with. If there's any way that The Comeback Kid could somehow take their sound in some unexpected directions, while still retaining their no-frills hardcore ethic, then I can see this band making something remarkable. As for now, I will with good conscious label this as some damned fine American hardcore.
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