To Kill

Antarctica

Written by: PP on 27/10/2010 03:22:32

I've discovered a whole bunch of awesome hardcore records lately that have restored my faith in the genre. I can't believe I actually thought hardcore was nothing but monotone boringness for the better part ot the last 1½ years or so after being treated to one such release after another, but hey, that's what makes the existence of bands like To Kill ever more important. First off, I've got to comment on the artwork which is one of the finest I've seen in a long while, but that's only a minor detail when analysing the metallic hardcore godhood of "Antarctica", and here's why:

Imagine the layered melodic sound of Comeback Kid from their "Broadcasting..." album combined with the relentless tightness of Terror and the ferocious intensity of the more melodic Bane songs. Sounds like a tasty sandwich? You bet'cha, and "Antarctica" is one such example on a golden plate. It really is that good. The focal point of the record is namely to take a brutal hardcore sound and inject it with large amounts of melody and variety to make it not just tolerable, but outright enjoyable also for those of us who don't get any pleasure from hardcore dancing at shows. The vocals range from screams to cleaner yells, which is nice, giving the record some much welcome flavor instead of looking like the sheet of white paper that many of their similar peers are in a nutshell.

But perhaps more importantly, the variety in the instrumental department is what lifts "Antarctica" so high in my books. You have layered melodies piling on top of one another in "Clouds" while the vocalist yells his lungs out and gang vocals give additional support in the background. But you also have the breakneck speed intensity of the hardcore punker "Paralysis" to empower the pits. But above all, you have the title track, which is nothing short of fantastic. The back chilling "This winter...this cold....this land" melodic gang shouts break smoothly into Terror/Comeback Kid hybrid hardcore, then into Killswitch Engage styled clean vocals in a strangely metalcore-esque chorus. Repeat all that but backwards, and add in changing tempo several times during a mammoth of a hardcore song that nearly beats Comeback Kid's latest album in its amibition and it's only 2:43 long. Sheesh, this song's just fucking great, I tell you.

"Sundown" introduces some more technical guitar playing to the mix, but by this point I'm already sold. This is a great hardcore record that's only made better by a great sense of timing, it's only thirty minutes long which is the perfect length so it doesn't overstay it's welcome. There's little doubt that I would've rated this much higher had it not been for Comeback Kid accidentally releasing one of the best hardcore albums of the last five years in "Symptoms + Cures" around the same time, but healthy competition is only a good thing....well, except To Kill have apparently called it a day since then. What a massive shame, just when you release your career-defining album that has the potential to take you to places, you get completely overshadowed by a similar but even better release. Shit happens, I guess.

p.s. can you believe these guys originate from Italy? Their North American-sounding brand of hardcore meant that this little detail took me completely by surprise.

8

Download: Antarctica, Clouds, Paralysis, Sparks, Sundown
For the fans of: Comeback Kid, Bane, Terror, Champion, Shai Hulud
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.09.2010
Let It Burn Records

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