Comeback Kid

Symptoms + Cures

Written by: AP on 04/11/2010 22:38:43

When the enigmatic Scott Wade resigned from his position as the vocalist of Comeback Kid four years ago, citing stress from touring as the reason, many feared the worst. The remaining members were forced to re-evaluate the band's existence, as much of the critical acclaim the band had garnered thus far with "Turn It Around" and "Wake the Dead" owed to Wade's heartfelt lyricism and characteristic vocal technique. In a surprising move, Comeback Kid decided to risk it all with guitarist Andrew Neufeld stepping up to fill the shoes, and went on to release the polarising effort "Broadcasting...", which saw the band distance themselves from their former punk-infused brand of hardcore and move in a more metallic direction. The album faltered in Neufeld's effort to emulate Wade rather than settle on his own style, and suffered from the kind of nervous experimentation one might expect from a band reborn in the wake of one of the best albums modern hardcore has ever provided.

"Broadcasting..." had its moments, but "Symptoms + Cures" marks a significant return to a more traditional Comeback Kid formula. It is undoubtedly their fastest and heaviest record to date, combining the monolithic chaos of "Broadcasting..." with the melodic disposition, intensity and despair that made "Wake the Dead" so popular. It also sees Neufeld find his own niche in a delicate balance between clenched-fist aggression and rusty cleans, laying down a vocal performance that is monumentally brutal and full of despair. His deeply personal lyrics and profuse talent for making the words really flow, condense into songs that address the listener with fists on the collar and give rise to such an out-pour of adrenaline that next time you fall victim to a mugging, ask the perpetrator to kindly wait two and a half minutes while you slam "Do Yourself a Favor" or "Balance" on your headphones and then square up - you will be so utterly pissed off that you'll destroy the thieving bastard.

Everything that made "Wake the Dead" such an important album is present on "Symptoms + Cures", and then some. The retrospect, big gang vocals and we're-all-in-it-together undertones of melodic discharge "G.M. Vincent & I", and the monumental intensity, power and emotion of "Balance", "Symptoms and Cures", "Manifest" and "Get Alone" mark Comeback Kid as prodigies in their genre, sounding like a band not trying to be the fastest, hardest or heaviest punks in town, but make each other go "dude, woah..." in the studio. Such is the mastery with which the band applies their formula of escalation and relentless tension through an expansive and enormously textured, brooding soundscape.

The experience is more cathartic than anything I have heard before; a chilling passage through Neufeld's darkest memories and the emotions accompanying. The album is written to perfection and so focused it feels like the riffs are going to spill out into the real world, making it impossible to listen to without having a bit of a fist-clench or committing a random act of violence. It should be a no-brainer then, that not only is "Symptoms + Cures" the band's best album to date by some distance, it is also one of the finest records of the year and ranks among the best hardcore albums ever released. In a genre watered down by a myriad of bands with little else to offer than tough guy attitude and crushing chugga riffs, Comeback Kid stands out as the most imaginative crew around. This is what hardcore should sound like.

9

Download: Do Yourself a Favor, G.M. Vincent & I, Balance, Symptoms and Cures, Manifest, Get Alone
For the fans of: Bane, Casey Jones, Defeater, Shai Hulud, Your Demise
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.08.2010
Victory Records

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