posted on 7/2005 By:
“Shots Out,” the introduction to Showdown, may quite possibly be one of the worst intros I’ve ever heard. In effect, I cautiously proceeded into the latest effort by Danish, hardcore-toters Barcode, and found that the record is mostly standard stuff. As an aside, perhaps the most intriguing thing about this disc is that Nuclear Blast released it. How’s that for a surprise?
Needless to say, all the requisite hardcore elements appear on Showdown, but unfortunately it just swims in mediocrity. First of all, as I said in the opening paragraph, “Shots Out” is atrocious. The aforementioned feels like it was lifted directly from the “Thanks” section of the liner notes; the band essentially announces their return (as if I couldn’t tell from the new CD in front of me), thank their former/current patrons, and berate everyone else. If I were them, I’d have saved that spiel for the live show. Anyway, most of the songs on the album are three minutes long, and contain predictable ingredients. For example, there’s a bevy of shouting-in-unison, profanity, hardcore rhythms, and political preaching. It’s a by-the-book release at best.
Nevertheless, Barcode do boast proficiency when they rely on their edgy riffs to do the talking. For example, “No Lust for Life” doesn’t adhere to strict hardcore standards, especially when it falls back on riffage so frequently. Furthermore, charming are “End the War” and “Drinkslinger” due to the utilization of The Warriors soundclips and, as a result, I couldn’t help but crack a smile, though I would’ve rather cracked open a beer. Showdown closes after the sixteenth track opts for silence, and that sixteenth track is a cover of Accept’s “I’m a Rebel.”
Admittedly, rigid hardcore is not my favorite subgenre, but I do appreciate those that play it well. I must also confess that Showdown is sprinkled with nuances at certain locations. However, I suspect mucho practicing would yield far greater results. Overall, the pluses are not enough to save the band from an ignorable status at this time. Next!
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