The Long Way Home

Written by: PP on 18/11/2011 02:51:56

Whenever the home of a band reads Australia, you best be paying attention. The reason we hear so little from down under is because of the distance, but the reality is that alongside Canada, they probably have the strongest alternative music scene in the world, one that consistently produces world-class acts in all manner of styles and genres. It's that scene that Confession stems from, the new band of Michael Crafter who used to handle vocals in I Killed The Prom Queen, and their sophomore album "The Long Way Home" is a refreshing reminder of how good balls-to-the-walls hardcore can sound like when mixed with a tight metalcore rhythm section and a little bit of post-hardcore as the icing on top of the cake.

The basis of Confession's sound is not exactly original. The ripping metalcore leads will inevitably bring into mind Parkway Drive, and the layered heavy melodies that add atmosphere to the songs recall The Ghost Inside and others like them, while the cleans often resemble Gwen Stacy's debut album in the way they are used as a very direct contrast for the harsh elements. But it's the execution of the hybrid sound and how tightly the album is recorded that counts - and that Confession do just about everything right when it comes to writing irresistibly catchy songs in the genre.

To do this, they utilize a shockingly good dynamic between face-melting hardcore tearing away with maximum intensity and soaring post-hardcore elements. A song like "Confused/Hopeless" begins with breakneck speed chugging, and features many a one chord breakdown along the road, but has remarkably strong contrast points with soaring clean vocals that arrive from nowhere to make the song instantly memorable. It's surprisingly emo for a band of this heavy caliber instrumentally, but that's precisely why it works. The crushing instrumentation sounds all the more heavier than it actually is when it's placed next to some infectiously catchy, pitch-perfect clean singing and occasionally a batch of electronics. Take "Piece By Piece", for instance, which is an excellent example with in-your-face harsh vocals in direct contrast with beautiful cleans in a chorus to kill for. There's a brief section of electronics adding melody as well, but luckily these are kept to a minimum throughout the album so that we're not dealing with another Asking Alexandria or Attack Attack clone by any means.

Occasionally, the band juxtaposes decipherable harsh vocals alongside the cleans in a way that reminisces Gwen Stacy to the note, such as on the chorus for "Nearly Thirty", or with the call/response dynamic on "The True Shine Through" where the cleans go over-the-top with melody on "Tonight I Saw Anger In Motion" with thick screams responding "I FEEL MY BLOOD BOILING". Another such example can be seen on "Asthma Attack"'s chorus, where the clean-ish gang shouts call out "NO MERCY!" with growls responding "NO REMORSE". That kind of catchphrase is an instant hit for an anthemic crowd shout-along at live shows, and likely a key phrase the band's fans will identify with for years to come. Maybe Confession will even print it at the back of their t-shirts with huge font as one of those power messages hardcore bands tend to these days. The song in general is made of the stuff that makes this sort of hardcore / metalcore hybrids snowball very fast.

Admittedly, Confession's sound isn't perfect. Although their choruses are infectiously catchy and will propel the band to the forefront of this melodic hardcore/metalcore hybrid sound that's so popular right now, their expression is dampened a bit with the overtly simplistic one-chord chugga-chugga pummeling passages that occur at least once in every song. Though they do fit the soundscape to some extent, it feels like the band simply flushes their otherwise dynamic songwriting down the toilet about every minute or so for no apparent reason. Moreover, there are some frankly idiotic sequences as well, such as this gem from "I Created This Horror": an enormous breakdown, "I don't give a FUCK" - CHUGGGGG CHUGCHUGCHUG, "CAUSE I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK (GIVE A FUUUUUCK), CAUSE I DO NOT GIVE A FUUUCK (GIVE A FUUUUUCK)", which alone is worthy of at least half a grade deduction from the rating. They certainly don't make my job any easier to convince you to give them a listen.

That said, "The Long Way Home" is just about as good as it gets when it comes to metalcore/hardcore that brings zero innovation or originality to the table. The songs are infectiously catchy in the right places, yet brutal elsewhere to provide an excellent platform for some unhealthy pits at their live shows. It goes without saying that any fan of Parkway Drive should look into this immediately.


Download: Piece By Piece, Asthma Attack, Nearly 30, The True Shine Through
For the fans of: Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside, Gwen Stacy
Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.11.2011

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