Comeback Kid

Die Knowing

Written by: PP on 04/03/2014 22:58:41

One of the most anticipated albums of 2014 has been the fifth Comeback Kid record "Die Knowing", thanks to monumental expectations set by its predecessor, the career defining "Symptoms + Cures", which was nominated near the top 3 ranking countless best-of 2010 lists across the web. This album was hailed by fans and critics alike to be the final step in defining a new identity after Andrew Neufeld replaced original vocalist Scott Wade on 2007's " Broadcasting...", and it was also the record that saw Comeback Kid at their most melodic to date. Incredulous energy and monumental melodic chant-alongs made its choruses among the best within hardcore punk in recent years, with especially "G.M. Vincent & I" leading the charge to become an instant classic within the genre. So how do you follow-up such a breakthrough (well, a second breakthrough really since "Wake The Dead" already introduced Comeback Kid to the masses)? You don't try to repeat it.

And that is exactly what Comeback Kid are doing on "Die Knowing". Those expecting a "Symptoms + Cures" part 2 are going to be sorely disappointed, because the melodic hardcore sound of that record is effectively ignored on the new album aside for "Should Know Better", which is probably the closest track to anything off that record. Instead, "Die Knowing" features some of the heaviest and hardest hitting songs in Comeback Kid's career as a clear throwback to the "Wake The Dead" days. Testosterone driven vocals are delivered with a far more aggressive and less melodic stance than before, whilst unpolished riffs are down-tuned to the extent that they are decisively referencing hardcore rather than punk. The energy-levels have been amped up to reinforce the struggle, the crushing force that hardcore is delivered with by most of their non-melodic contemporaries, as evident in the title track, "I Depend, I Control", or on "Wasted Arrows", even if the latter toys with some melody in its chorus bits.

But here's where the album gets real interesting. The second half, starting from breakneck speed "Beyond" which references old school punk backing choruses, has moments where you're wondering if this can really be Comeback Kid who recorded these songs. Granted, the slow pace and deliberately rhythmic texture of "Unconditional" recalls good ol' Bane, but even here the experimentation rears its pretty head during the chorus part. However, it is on "Didn't Even Mind" that the band drops a real surprise to us because they basically sound like a slightly heavier version of I Am The Avalanche - who are an excellent melodic punk rock band with decipherable, coarse vocals by Vinnie Caruana (ex-The Movielife). The thing is, these guys draw your mind towards bands like Make Do And Mend rather than Terror, so it's a highly unusual approach by Comeback Kid to take, albeit being placed towards the end of the album. Likewise, album closing track "Sink In" falls underneath the same category, borrowing heavily from the Midwestern punk rock scene while of course retaining Andrew Neufeld's hard-hitting scream on top. It works surprisingly well - actually to an extent that I'd love to hear Comeback Kid do a full record in the vein of these songs in the future.

The majority of the album does fall underneath the crushing variety, however, so hardcore fans have nothing to worry about. The quality of song of course suffers when you deliberately try to force the songs as brutally heavy as possible, especially when placed in such a direct contrast with the melodic hardcore material from the previous, so I can't with hand on my heart award this record a rating anywhere near the classic rating of "Symptoms + Cures". Much of this can be attributed that as a whole, "Die Knowing" is quite simply just a less memorable record overall, despite housing a number of excellent individual tracks.

Download: Should Know Better, Didn't Even Mind, Sink In
For the fans of: Bane, Terror, This Is Hell, Trapped Under Ice, Devil In Me
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.03.2014
Victory Records

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