Good Riddance

Peace In Our Time

Written by: PP on 21/07/2015 22:35:57

After releasing a number of highly touted melodic hardcore tinged punk albums throughout the 90s, Good Riddance called it quits in 2007. In retrospect, their expression was among the pioneering ones within the 90s SoCal punk rock scene given its shift towards melodic hardcore ideals, which were later on echoed on records by Strike Anywhere and especially Rise Against on their early material prior to their shift to more radio-friendly stuff post-"The Sufferer & The Witness". And although Good Riddance never reached a level of success comparable to Rise Against, their influence in the scene as a whole can't and shouldn't be ignored. They reunited in 2012 to play a few shows, and a couple of years later primary songwriter Russ Rankin started writing material for their eighth full-length album "Peace In Our Time".

The last time we heard studio material by Good Riddance was nine years ago on "My Republic". While remaining largely true to their original sound, the album did feel somewhat uninspired, as if the band had spent their songwriting prowess on earlier albums with few ideas left in the tank. All of that has changed for "Peace In Our Time", which is arguably their best album since at least "Symptoms Of A Leveling Spirit" (2001), but possibly even since 1996's classic "A Comprehensive Guide To Moderne Rebellion". What you'll get here is a proper throwback to mid-90s punk rock scene: tight riffs delivered at skate punk speeds but with notable hardcore undertones, hard-hitting rhythms with uptempo vibes and catchy passages but without ever properly entering the pop realm in the same manner as Rise Against do. In other words, melodic punk with enough grit and urgency to appease most punk fans, yet enough infectious melodies to draw people in from outside of the traditional genre circles as well.

"Teachable Moments" and "Glory Glory", for instance, reference mid-90s NOFX from "Punk In Drublic" and "White Trash, Two Heebs & A Bean"-era. "Shiloh" showcases down-tuned skate punk riffage that could've been on Pennywise's landmark release "Land Of The Free". "Half Measures" references Bad Religion's heaviest material both riff-wise as well as via the backing choral melodies. "Grace And Virtue" echoes No Use For A Name in its catchy vocal lines and overall melodicore instrumentation style. But most importantly, these aren't just cheap imitations of much bigger bands in the genre despite the similarities; many of these examples are actually better than any of the aforementioned bands have mustered on their own records as of late. As such, the record is much more than a tribute: it's a direct power grab and an aggressive push towards the throne in the genre in 2015.

That in itself makes "Peace In Our Time" a quintessential Fat Wreck Chords punk release: it showcases the genre exactly as it was meant to be played. Good Riddance sound both revived and refreshed on the record, resulting in raw songs that are catchy in the right places, merged with political passion and intellectual lyricism that should have most politically active punk rockers ready to go. But unlike Propagandhi on their later releases, Good Riddance keep in mind that a great song isn't just about technical riffs and hyper-intellectual lyricism, but the melody and execution are equally important. Thus, they are taking a page from the Bad Religion guide to punk rock, combining both in a sublime manner. Let's just put it this way: I can't even remember the last time a release this good surfaced within this style of punk rock. Nothing short of fantastic.

Download: Half Measures, Teachable Moments, Dry Season, Our Better Nature, Glory Glory, Sliloh
For the fans of: NOFX, Pennywise, Rise Against, Strike Anywhere, Bad Religion, No Use For A Name
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Release date 21.04.2015
Fat Wreck Chords

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