Whether it leans more towards metal or punk, it really doesn’t matter; you always know roughly what you’re going to get when you listen to hardcore.
That’s not a bad thing, the human mind by its very nature craves familiarity. Babies cease crying when they’re held by their mothers, people gravitate towards other that share their interests and you’re more likely to feel safe in a place you know than when treading new ground.
The Departed‘s new album Steal The Crown is just that – it is familiar-sounding, straight up, balls-out hardcore. The brilliant intro track features the bane of religions worldwide, Richard Dawkins, and sets the tone for the next song, Faithless. That track kicks in very much like you would expect. It’s hard, it’s fast, it’s heavy and it’s uncompromising. Admittedly, the anti-belief sentiment expressed within is a little overdone nowadays but it still has the intense break-neck tempo, gang vocals and breakdowns that typify hardcore and it does its job as an opening track.
Unfortunately for The Departed, too much familiarity can be a bad thing. It is quite obvious that the Grimsby five-piece are influenced by bands like Terror and Comeback Kid but sometimes it just seems a little repetitive. Over the course of the twelve track album, the very same elements that make the opening track so impressive keep cropping up again and again. The tempos are very similar throughout, whether designed to initiate circle pits or two-stepping, the group vocal melodies are pretty much identical and the riffs and breakdowns are far from memorable.
Granted, Joe Dean normally sounds like a slightly more pissed off version of Your Demise‘s Ed McRae and fair play to the guy for having a bash at singing in the chorus of 15 Minutes Fame as it is a little unexpected. So too are the death metal inspired growls in a couple of the tracks towards the latter stages of the record but ultimately, in terms of creativity, Steal The Crown is a little stale.
If you want an album that is the epitome of hardcore, this is it. What it lacks in creativity, it more than makes up for in gusto. It is the kind of album that would incite vicious mosh pits up and down the country when performed live.
This is a 27 minute explosion of anger, designed for nothing more or less than catharsis at the end of a bad day in the office, when your partner decides they’ve had enough of you or when the state of the world just gets you down and you need some kind of release – and isn’t that what hardcore is all about?
For Fans Of: Terror, Your Demise, Comeback Kid, Bane.