Snapcase
Progression Through Unlearning


3.0
good

Review

by GleamInRanks USER (16 Reviews)
August 11th, 2007 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A repetitive but overall solid slab of hardcore.

In the early to mid 1990's, hardcore underwent an abrupt change. Some bands were no longer satisfied with the classic hardcore sound and began incorporating heavier and faster instrumentation that was reminiscent of metal, and adding more complexity to the rhythms and compositions of a song. Bands who included the aggression of hardcore and an overall, more "metallic" sound were the origin of what became known as metalcore. Musicians who were more lenient towards writing the odd metered songs and crazy rhythms were labeled as mathcore, with bands like Deadguy and Botch who were tagged with the genre. Mathcore never seemed to attract as many followers during this time as metalcore did. The relentless nature of metalcore served as strong base for fans of both metal and hardcore. Unlike today however, early metalcore usually contained an equal amount of influence from both genres.With Snapcase, the only genre that actually fits the band is hardcore but to leave their description so vague would be a mistake. The entire band is rhythmically inclined (and they love to show it) and much of the guitar riffing is heavier than the traditional hardcore. The 1997 release from Snapcase, Progression Through Unlearning carves a median between complex and accessible without ever indulging too much on one aspect.

From start to finish, the guitarists are the main focus of Progression Through Unlearning and while that is mostly what aggressive records tend to zero in on, the repetitiveness is unavoidable. What the guitarists bring to the table are a slew of drop tuned power chord riffs, harmonic interplay and the occasional guitar quirks all of which usually contain intricate rhythms. The introduction of "Vent" is the prime example of the harmonic interplay between both guitarist and the rhythm section. Three quarters through the song, a galloping drum pattern emerges and suddenly, some of the harshest, dirtiest sounding harmonics I have ever heard starts shrieking and the best part about this section is that the guitarists manage to harmonize them while they're ear-piercing. "Caboose" features more of this technique being used quite well with split second pauses that display the tight musicianship of the band. The longest track on the album, "Breaking and Reaching" shys away from the rest of the album by slowing down the tempo and lets a darker mood be created. Here the bassist plays off of the rhythm guitarists heavy, droning chords. The dissonant chords and bass notes and the trudging drums turn out being very effective with the mid tempo grove that is absent on the rest of the album. The standout feature of Progression Through Unlearning is the way the album was produced. Every instrument is incredibly crisp and clearly audible. The production is the main reason why this record has as powerful as it is. The bass drum has an incredible amount of force behind it, as do the guitars. The low, chugging guitar riffs come through clearly and never sound weak or muddy.

Even though Progression Through Unlearning is (supposedly) a highly influential album in the realm of hardcore, there are a few problems that I found with it. The biggest of which is that every song sounds just like the one before it. Snapcase wrote a ton of great riffs for this album but they all are so closely related that telling them apart is a chore most of the time. There is only so many drop-C riffs you can play before they all start to sound alike. Apart from the music being repetitive, the vocals are the same. For the most part, I enjoy the vocals. I believe that the vocalists aggressively harsh scream is very fitting towards the bands sound. The problem here lies with how he almost never changes the tone of his voice. Sadly, 99% of the album features these vocals with the exact same tone and after a while, they can become tiresome with the lack of variety. What I will give him credit for is the intensity of his voice and his relentless approach.

Overall, Progression Through Unlearning does a lot to keep the listener interested throughout. The musicianship is exceptional even with the presence of odd-meters and bizarre rhythms. All of the songs carry themselves with wonderful strength and vigor. What really brings Progression Through Unlearning down is the lack of any really variety, save a few songs. The same style of guitar playing and vocals are featured in an overwhelming majority of the tracks which can provided a boring listening experience in some spots of the album but the formula that Snapcase has crafted works well. A solid hardcore release that mixes complexity with straightforward aggression.



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user ratings (84)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
cbmartinez
August 11th 2007


2525 Comments


Yeah, I only have one song by Snapcase, "Coagulate," off a Victory records sampler I have and it was pretty repetitive but I love the guys voice. I've been meaning to check out something by the band for a while.

Nice review man.

Aficionado
August 11th 2007


1027 Comments


Listen to Designs for automotion, that is their best release IMO. Most notably blemish, that song kicks some ass.

GleamInRanks
August 11th 2007


298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks, this constanly switches between a 3 and a 3.5, I don't know, it's strange. I'll be sure to check out Designs. Is it in the same vein as this?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
August 11th 2007


3996 Comments


I never really liked Snapcase. It was interesting when I was 15 but this wore off quickly.

GleamInRanks
August 11th 2007


298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have a feeling the same thing will happen to me and I have only had it for a week.This Message Edited On 08.11.07

Concubine
August 11th 2007


333 Comments


album rules

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band rules

Aficionado
August 11th 2007


1027 Comments


^^^^

This.

Wizard
December 24th 2007


19612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Gleam! Designs for Automation was a bit better than this, especially the song 'Bleeding Orange'.

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar

Aficionado
December 24th 2007


1027 Comments


oh man I love that song, my favourite is probably "Blemish". I wanna get End Transmission really badly as "A synthesis of classical form" and "Exile Etiquette" are both fantastics songs.

AnvilJ
September 11th 2010


124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album. 30m of unbridled relentless controlled devastation.

Deathcar
November 16th 2010


1534 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is gold, don't see how people can find this repetitive...massively influential album here.

eternium
November 28th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is so fucking good.

accompliceofmydeath
January 14th 2011


4297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Zombie Prescription fucking kills it.

Digging: Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable

MalleusMaleficarum
January 18th 2011


14369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album.

Gmork89
July 20th 2012


5537 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This needs more love.

Funeralopolis
November 12th 2012


11774 Comments


yea album is pretty good

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

Snackapples
November 25th 2012


43 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love this. Tons of groove and aggression.

MalleusMaleficarum
November 25th 2012


14369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeaa

demigod!
April 13th 2013


45005 Comments


rockin riffs. love that guitar tone

Digging: Autechre - LP5



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