Release DetailsLABEL Da'Core Records
RELEASED ON 8/5/2003
Pray for Peace
posted on 10/2003 By:
Hot on the heels of the rather enjoyable Built Upon Frustration album, comes another slab of Pittsburgh hardcore from No Retreat. While a valiant effort, Pray for Peace simply comes across as a pretty run of the mill, by the numbers hardcore album. No Retreat’s “Brothers For Life” mentality is admirable but their music is rather flat and somehow unenergetic for the genre. Down-tuned, muddy guitars chug ‘n’ churn through 12 chest pounding hymns of justice, brotherhood, retribution and ass kicking. If Hatebreed had a ‘mini-me’, it would be No Retreat. But quite simply, despite a deeper than usual growl from frontman Frank Pontiek, there is absolutely nothing here to offer the hardcore fan that has all of this band’s obvious peers discographies already. The murky production (from Pro-Pain’s normally sonically astute Eric Linger), makes this sound surprisingly amateurish and the as expected frequent breakdowns are sucked a little dry. The guitar tone is solid, but for some reason the whole effort lacks weight, that’s about the only way to describe the non-existent drums. Even the speedier power chord riffs are rendered lifeless by the stale sound. Not that it matters that much, as the music probably would not have benefited that much from a great production anyway. Adding to the generally cookie cutter style is the appearance of guest vocalist Mad Joe Black from even more obscure (to me anyway) acts Boxcutter, Krutch and Out Ta Win. His almost rap metal chant included on many of the songs, brings the whole affair to E-Town Concrete territory, and frankly doesn’t even come close to Pontiek’s impressive bellow. Those songs are cheesier, and have a more pronounced forced machismo, that cries ‘repressed childhood’. “Talk is Cheap”, “Blood Brothers”, “One More War”, and the other equally contrived sounding songs just don’t create any kind of emotion whatsoever, not even a head bob here or there. Everything is just so predictable and cliched, that I imagine 567 bar bands in the East Coast could come up with something similar, if not better. Unimaginative riffs, stumbling, lifeless breakdowns and teenage lyrics essentially make for the musical ramblings of some testosterone fueled wannabes with Jamie Jasta posters on the wall. Only the slight deviation during the chorus of album closer “Room For Hate”, shows any kind of individuality or self conceived ideas that weren’t stolen from the early 1990’s Victory records roster. But if after 4 albums, that’s the most unique element they can come up with, No Retreat won’t be around much longer. Frankly I’m surprised they’ve lasted this long (but Da Core seems to be an inner circle of inter band friends and such), I imagine they entertain live, incurring much idiotic ninja moshing and shout-alongs, but on a recorded album, this is about as bland as it gets.
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