posted on 11/2009 By:
If you feel like you’re currently being buried alive by subgenre “revivals”—the thrash revival, the trad doom revival, the glam rock revival, ad nauseum—I’ve got some bad news for you. Over the last couple years, noise rock (or post-hardcore, or whatever you want to call it) has been quietly reanimating itself. While this style is still far from oversaturated, enough high-quality efforts have appeared to please fans of the style. Unfortunately, Tournament’s Years Old can’t quite keep up with its competition.
Tournament take the core of their sound from the angular, loose grooves of 90's-era Chicago bands like The Jesus Lizard and Helmet, but also draws sparingly on the spacey melodies of weirdo metalcore bands like Botch. Years Old blows by in fits and gusts. Each song blares to life, barrels through a collection of speedy ravings and jittery math rhythms, and then excuses itself in three-ish minutes.
As is so often the case with underground punk/metal releases, Tournament mostly fail to make an impact because of their flawed execution. Though the zany guitarwork on tracks like “Smokelore” and Ryan Kelly’s propulsive basswork are occasionally compelling, they’re more often defused by bland songwriting and disinterested, placeholder vocals. Further, even the band’s best moments are undermined by a production job that’s plenty warm but lacking in bite and heft.
Years Old really isn’t a bad album, but in a year so crowded with excellence, Tournament will have a hard time catching ears. Fight Amp, Pissed Jeans, Lightning Bolt, and The Catalyst—just to name a few—have recently released outstanding albums in this vein, so I can’t recommend that you plop down the cash for this middle-of-the-pack release.
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