Written by: AP on 29/10/2011 15:15:53

Given that this self-titled mini-album is the second new Constraints release in less than seven months, the band certainly cannot be accused of sitting around rolling their thumbs. Despite dwelling in the same musical universe as its predecessor, however, it provides a much more coherent listening experience, as well as further insight into the influences underlying the band's music. To recap: Constraints deal in melodic hardcore inspired by the Boston melodic hardcore scene lead by the Carrier and Defeater. Musically that translates to a wealth of ringing melodies and legato riffs arranged over a foundation of metallic hardcore and punk, with urgent, highly emotive screams constituting vocals.

As such, "Constraints" sounds like the archetypical melodic hardcore album, riddled with somber melodies, teeming with passion, and driven by intense energy. Perhaps the most enticing thing about songs like "Consumed II" and "Departure" is their ability to convey a relentless sense of despair through the bleakest instrumentation and the wounded, strained screams of the vocalist. There is no joy or hope audible in the likes of "Bitter Sleep", "Desperate Times" and "Shuffled Perspective", which play like a mixture of thoughts jotted down by a band observing the slow decay of the world around them from the sideline, and entries from the diaries of dying men, exposing the emotional turmoil raging inside them with naked honesty and conviction.

In writing songs in this style, however, Constraints are merely tracing the footsteps of others like them, so if you've stumbled upon this review looking for innovation, stop reading now. There is nothing going on that separates them from the host of other bands practicing in the genre, except pulling it off with admirable prowess. Defeater, for instance, are kings when it comes to capturing the kind of melancholy that Constraints strive for, and expressing it through short stories, and when it comes to intensity, the Carrier are still leading the way. Constraints are able to nail down the feeling, but still lack the instantly recognisable songs to play in the major league. But even so, Constraints excel in forging gloomy hardcore, and there is no reason why this Canadian outfit shouldn't be able to establish itself on par with those bands on future efforts.

Download: Consumed II, Bitter Sleep, Desperate Times, Shuffled Perspective
For the fans of: The Carrier, Defeater, More Than Life
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.07.2011
FWYS Records

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