posted on 6/2008 By:
When it comes to hardcore, I must admit I came to the party a little late. With the exception of Sick Of It All I bypassed most of the old school/NYHC stuff and instead went straight to bands like Strife, Snapcase, Earth Crisis etc. In comparison to my beloved extreme metal, I always found straight-up hardcore a little too stagnant and bone-headed to be of any real interest. What a fool I’ve been. If this latest effort from Inhuman is any indication of what’s currently out there in HC land, then I seriously need to visit more. Devotees of NYHC or old school in general may want to listen up, because Last Rites is awesome.
Inhuman come out of the gates hard and fast with this album’s title track; a brutal hardcore number with a fat metallic crunch. However, the further you venture into Last Rites the more you’ll discover the tremendous diversity these guys have on offer. Following the metal/hardcore of the first track is the Black Flag-esque "Fashist", all speed and raw power. The band really start to open up musically on "Heretic"; a slower, grinding number with a strong thrash influence complete with sung vocals that are reminiscent of Slayer.
One of the biggest strengths of Last Rites is the variety of styles it touches upon within a hardcore framework. Several of the tracks, namely "What You Wanted" and "A Fine Line" push all the way into melodic punk territory with strongly sung vocals, catchy solos and sing-along choruses. Then there’s "The Dream Is Not Dead" with ‘whoah-ohs’ that would be right at home on a Misfits album. These more melodic tracks effectively break up the speed and brutality of other tracks (e.g. "Mania" and Inhuman’s awesome ode to exploitation flicks in "Grindhouse"). The biggest surprise though comes in the final track "The Lost". A complete but totally convincing change of pace, the song is fashioned in a moody, dark rock vein that almost sounds like something from AFI during their goth punk period.
If it sounds like I’m highlighting too many songs on Last Rites that’s simply because there are so many good songs on it. Inhuman may well be HC veterans but if this album is anything to go by, they clearly have the passion, intensity and songwriting smarts to not only match but exceed the efforts of their peers young and old. If you think of traditional hardcore as being a stagnant genre that lacks diversity and dynamics, I’m quietly confident that even a cursory spin of Last Rites will change your mind.
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