Release DetailsLABEL Victory
RELEASED ON 2/20/2007
posted on 5/2007 By:
A good gauge for which direction a hardcore band is going is its song lengths. By its very definition, shorter equals more hardcore and longer equals less. So with mixed reservations from me, I’m here to inform you Comeback Kid has become the latter. Inevitably, whether it’s out of sheer boredom, the need to prove they can write more complex material, or just plain not being as angry anymore, there comes a time in many successful hardcore bands’ career when they stop trying to write songs for the sweaty basement shows of their youth and start crafting music that shows they can write more than just a three chord sing along rant.
Since Broadcasting… is only their third record I don’t think Comeback Kid was bored with their sound per se, and they seem as angry as ever, but there are some powerful trends sweeping the hardcore scene at the moment, none more so than the out of left field success of Modern Life Is War. Although their record sales probably don’t reflect it, Modern Life Is War is having an outsize effect on the hardcore scene. Through their brand of tense and brooding music, often times missing any element of traditional hardcore, they’ve managed to both grab the creative/thought leadership position and point the way to a much more varied future, one in which the very definition of one of the most strict genres may become a lot broader. One could even make an analogy that it somewhat resembles what Enslaved is doing with black metal, pushing the boundaries of a very cloistered genre.
So in the face of this rising tide it must have seemed to Comeback Kid that their catchy blend of melodic west coast hardcore and mosh inducing breakdowns of classic NYHC might be a bit too simpleton in its approach to appeal to this new breed of hardcore fan. So they’ve adapted to this perceived threat by incorporating a huge dose of the en vogue sound into their own. For the most part they’re pretty successful. They’ve managed to faithfully recreate parts of Modern Life Is War’s sound while keeping it rooted in a more traditional hardcore structure. There’s the epic sweep of jangly, power chord free passages accented with subtle harmonic chords, the discordant scream of single note solos, the frequent screamed vocals over fading ring outs mixed with your traditional power chord driven hardcore. When done well, like on the exceptional "Hailing On Me", they have the same affect on their listener as the best Modern Life Is War songs, transcending the one dimensional feelings hardcore typically elicits through a pained, cathartic crescendo that’s simultaneously beautiful and fearsome. When not done as well, like a couple songs here, it becomes a meandering trail that lacks any focus or power, something you rarely have to worry about with traditional hardcore. Still, they succeed much more often than they fail which isn’t always the case for a band making a big change in their sound.
Of course, this new direction demands that some things be left on the cutting room floor, and not surprisingly it’s the more metal elements of their previous sound: the breakdowns, the rhythm guitar gallops and the occasional double bass drumming. There’s no room for the straightforward bludgeoning of metal in this type of hardcore so out the window it went. Truth be told, even though I enjoyed their last two records, the world is full of metallic hardcore bands so it’s not a huge tragedy to see one cut it out of their sound. It certainly will help them in the eyes of purists.
Broadcasting… certainly puts Comeback Kid at the forefront of modern hardcore, proving they can deliver this more complex, demanding style in spades but at the expense of their more fun loving, everyman hardcore past. While the songs here are certainly more awe-inspiring and technically proficient, none of it truly sticks with you after it’s over, like the title track on their last effort or some of the songs on their debut album. To some this trade off between easily digestible choruses and breakdowns and the more obtuse, work for it music found here may be too much, but if you give it time, this album will grow into a keeper for old fans and open them up to a whole new set of fans in the process.
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