Release DetailsLABEL Hold True
RELEASED ON 6/3/2007
posted on 7/2007 By:
Whoever gets tapped to write These Are:’s bio will breathe a sweet sigh of relief because finally, finally, they don’t have to lie…too much. These Are: actually exhibits most of the press sheet clichés: they’re fresh and breaking the rules, smashing the boundaries that dictate conformity for so many (Don’t be surprised, I took Industry Bullshit 101 as a correspondence course. I know how to inflate traits). I know, I know, you’ve seen that same crap hundreds of times, usually included on some sticker that claims that the band in question is “For Fans Of: Slayer, crack cocaine, and Doonesbury.” But, more often than not, this band seems legit when it comes to the experimenting, welding spastic tech, math rock, noise rock, etc. to a solid hardcore base in a novel way, a way that I can’t say I’ve heard before (At least, not quite like this). The question is though, does it work?
Yes and no. The big appeal of These Are: is the speed of their riff rotations and their subgenre jumping. Yet, the band sets themselves apart by confining their genre experiments to styles that don’t sit too far outside of hardcore. We’re not talking a Lye by Mistake juggling act, as flaming fusion and free jazz freakout chainsaws fly perilously close to purposely clashing soft n’ cuddly novelty sections. Instead, a Dillinger Escape Plan-like guitar run might precede a gang shout-infused breakdown or a light noise rock influence might rear its head before a driving riff straight from a band like Buried Alive brings the song back to its core roots. And that’s part of the fun of listening to Scare Tactics, trying to isolate all of These Are:’s boundary bouncing and pairing them up with the bands that are possibly the source.
But, like a lot of other entries that emphasize chaos, they run into the predictable problems. Because they’re slinging sections your way at a rate that’s comparable to the joke turnover on Airplane!, few moments pop out and burrow their way into the brain. Even after some spins and becoming familiar with the way they weave and twist these once recognizable riffs (Buried Alive choked by tech creeper vines, maybe), nothing quite makes the jaw drop. That’s partly because nothing sticks around long enough to truly sink in (If you have a short-term memory that is comparable to an Etch-a-Sketch in the hands of a Parkinson’s sufferer, you can ignore this. By the way, you’ve read this line six times). I can almost give that a pass though because These Are:’s transitions flow oh so impressively. Like driving a manual transmission, the first couple listens are a bit on the hurky-jerky side, but things begin to smooth out with time. Summation? The riff stacking is impressive even if the riffs aren’t that memorable.
Of course, take what I say with a grain of salt. I’ve listened to so much of this stuff over the past couple years that any change to the formula is going to hit me like the shock wave from an A-bomb (perception is the greatest review killer, ya know). Others have trod on similar ground (there’s a real post-Calculating Infinity meets early ‘00s hardcore revival vibe going on, which might not be as fresh as I let on), but I can’t say I remember there being such a focus on the core side before (The production brings this out a lot. I get a ska-less Folly a lot of the time, both musically and sound-wise). Yeah, the vocals are going to be a turnoff for many (sore-throated shouter at his best, chain-smoking chipmunk at his worst) and the breakdowns are a bit old hat, but Scare Tactics shows promise and I think fans of this kind of stuff would do well to track this down. Others? Not so sure. Realize that what’s coming out of the meat grinder is a redesign of recent hardcore as seen through the tech eye. If that still sounds interesting, eat up. These Are: aren’t quite there yet, but, at the very least, those that are fed up with banging out bad band bios (and failing lie detector tests in the process) will come calling.
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