23 November 2015
Boysetsfire - Boysetsfire
How the hell did I miss these guys getting back together - this is a review of the sixth studio album by Hardcore Delware natives, Boysetsfire. Originally formed in 1994 and released various EP's, split releases, live releases and four studio albums before originally calling it a day in 2007. After they had split up, they started various projects (The Casting Out, The Young Lady) and in 2010 they reformed. Now this reunion passed me by and I have missed an album called 'While a Nation Sleeps....' and I feel a little disappoint in myself. I have always enjoyed their music, it is the right mix of aggression and hardcore sensibilities to perk my interest; so before I start on 'While a Nation Sleeps...' I want to have a look at this album - their first to be named after the band. The cover is interesting picture, a snake about to eat its own tail in an Ouroboros fashion in a medieval drawing style against a plain white background. It is certainly a striking image, so let us see how the album turns out....
Starting the album is "Savage Blood" and after a sound bite that sounds as if it has been recorded through some sort of tube, it is straight into a strong and striking mosh pit inducing riff that will have lots of aggressive feelings being released in unison. It has a strong riff that goes through as the bass actually flies in different directions. It does not implode under itself which is something that can happen with hardcore music for me, it also sounds fresh and it does not rely on previously used techniques. A positive start to this album, which is followed by "Cutting Room Floor" and we are right in the groove with this number. If I had to describe the feeling I get from this song, it would be that I has the same vibe I got when I first heard 'Soul Searching Soul' by Life of Agony. It gives me an excitement I have not had from this type of music in a long time, it has such a fresh angle that it becomes a song you want to put on repeat. The story about a relationship on the skids is obviously as old as the hills, it is an instant classic in my books. After this we have the two minute plus punch called "Don't Panic", it is a simple song in many ways as it just punches a hole through your speakers and starts the mosh party on its own. It is all too brief if I am honest, I would have loved for it to be longer as there is a great little hook at the end of each verse that makes the hairs on my neck stand on end; but in hardcore it is best to leave the audience wanting more as they just have you reaching for the repeat button. As if to make up for it, the next song is five minutes of muscle called "Ordinary Lives" which slows everything down as it questions humanity with a song that could actually be used in any of the upcoming WWE PPV's or for a montage to a story. It is an emotive number and shows a different side to the band which will appeal to a wider audience. It is certainly a song which has a big hook and a chorus which would be easy to scream along to, it might be the track that grabs me but I can see what it has been included in this album. "One Match" is the fifth song and it brings a bit more positive energy to this album, with its message about the world and how life can be it has a certain charm. I really love the catchy chorus and that riff which drives the number is brilliant, it is so easy to get lost in and reach for that repeat button more often than is strictly healthy.
"The Filth Is Rising" follows on with explodes into action from the very first note, it is a hardcore, circle pit in musical form as you have some massive riffs, fantastic peaks and troughs for the crowd to build speed and to get your breath again. It slows down to a burning crawl by the end, all mean and mood in sound with a cathartic release that is over in just over two minutes. It is a fast number that is over before you know it and you just want to reach for the repeat button - it is a great number. This flows straight into "Torches to Paradise" and this is probably my least favourite song of the album. It sounds like many other acts which are currently big, it has that 'Alter-Bridge' sound that has been big for the last few years and I just do not get it being used on this album. Sorry, but this is weak sauce. Thankfully "Coward" rights the many wrongs of the last song, starting with a screaming attack on a cowardly foe it soon has the riff circling the sound system and the band release a torrent of anger onto you. It feels a thousand times better than "Torches to Paradise" which is not really hard, but it is a cracking song in any light. It grinds along with a desire to use a negative and turn it into a positive release for the listener. It is a great song, showing the coward up and making something powerful out of the negative situation - a double win in my book. "Heaven Knows" is the next song that speeds along with an eye on a point just over the horizon and the foot to the floor. It is a song about the negative sides of religion and how it is not something that the band believe in. Now whilst I will not comment on the argument (do not think a blogger should have his personal input to a review), I will point out that it is a well written song that keeps your interest and even without the lyrics would it is still one of the best songs on the album. The debate in the lyrics does add intrigue and will probably be discussed at lengths by many people - another good track on this album.
"Fall from Grace" is the eighth song of the album, is back to the dramatic, slower side of the band and thankfully it follows more in the style of "Ordinary Lives" than "Torches to Paradise". It is a decent number which is well played, not making me so excited that I have to listen to it on repeat; but it is also a different side to the band which is something that bands have to do and it makes a great contrast to their loud numbers. "Dig Your Grave" is a master piece on this album, it really smashes into you from the opening rapid chord and drum snare that smashing you into a submissive pose before the song is really starting. It then gets better as the song moves along and everything comes together into a giant riff that just keeps on giving and when the band grind it to the bone toward the end it just smashes down heavier than before - I was going to put "Don't Panic" as the best track on the album, this has just hit that one out of the park - instant classic there. The penultimate song is called "Breathe In, Bleed Out" and it is a fast paced main riff/emotive chorus type of song, it is a decent number that is played very well, but the swap between the two styles feels a little force and stop/starting in nature and it does not add up to a cohesive song that flows really well - but it is still a decent number. But the band end on the explosive "Bled Dry" that sounds like a defiant middle finger in the air, it has everything you want form a sub two minute hardcore song - a slow grind, screaming vocals, pumping bass and that important release that is always needed. It ends the album on a brilliant number.
Ok I will get the bad stuff out of the way first - I think it is obvious I did not like a couple of song and one in particular (not gonna name it again) just did not make sense to me, but it is a side of this band which can work and it is good to see that they are not a one dimensional band. Good stuff - even with those few numbers though, I love this album. It is a great modern hardcore album that has more brilliant songs than poor ones, even then they are all played to a top draw level. Out of a lot of the band which have reformed over the last few years, this is one which has worked the best. It is a great album to help release any tension you might have and you can scream along with them and know that you are not along in this world. I am going to have to dig out my old album after listening to this and find a copy of that fifth one which I missed - Boysetsfire, it is great to have you back!
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track - Dig Your Grave
You can purchase Boysetsfire from Amazon here
You can visit the Boysetsfire website here
You can follow the activities on Boysetsfire on Facebook here
You can stream Boysetsfire on Spotify here
You can stream Boysetsfire on Deezer here
You can stream Boysetsfire on Tidal here
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