Usually when a band loses a singer they decide to call it a day – usually it is best to call it a day. To most people, especially casual listeners, the lead vocalist is what makes that particular band identifiable; once they are gone the band is different. However, when Comeback Kid lost vocalist Scott Wade after their second album ‘Wake the Dead’ they decided not to call it a day. This is one case where it would have been wrong to end the band – or at least change the name. After all, previous albums show that CBK already have three more than competent vocalists amongst their ranks. In the end, they settled on guitarist and ex-backup vocalist, now lead, Andrew Neufeld; and they haven’t just
settled, they have settled very comfortably indeed. His is a raw, powerful voice, just what is needed for hardcore, and it fits the music perfectly. In fact, truth be told, depending on individual preferences, it could even be seen as an improvement.
What attracts many to Comeback Kid are their excellent, powerful gang vocals. When these are featured in their songs they greatly improve them, and also they are a feature of their music that makes the band immediately identifiable. It is one of their trademarks, so to speak. They feature very prominently in the slow chorus of opener ‘Defeated’
. Overall ‘Defeated’ is a very promising start, with its great chorus and confident intro that starts very suddenly after some fairly distant riffing. However, it is let down by a having a very average verse, that could potentially be described as a disappointment when compared to the chorus. Nevertheless, it makes you feel very hopeful for the rest of the album. Especially when the next few tracks are as good as they are. Title track ‘Broadcasting...’
is actually the best song on the album by quite a distance. It explodes into a violent verse with some fairly average, yet still good lyrical work “A common threat sits in our house…” before leading into a superb chorus, once again making excellent use of the gang vocals. The breakdown is of an equally high standard with a great chugging, ascending guitar riff. It is easily the best song on the album. The next few songs are almost as good, with ‘The Blackstone’
in particular standing out. It stands not just because of its high quality but also because its tempo is different to most of the other songs on the album, in that it is more ‘relaxed’ with a mid-paced, head banging riff that continues from the intro through the verse. The tempo is raised for a frantic bridge, that changes tempo fairly abruptly and brilliantly.
However, after a very strong start to the album, the quality declines somewhat. It’s not the second half, or so, of the album is poor – it definitely isn’t, it is just at times very average. Of course there are highlights, but, excluding the aforementioned earlier tracks, these are heavily outnumbered by tracks that are disappointingly mediocre. ‘Give’r (Reprise)’
is one of those highlights, albeit a very short-lived one. Lasting just over a minute it doesn’t have time on it’s side, but due to its fast speed it manages to get through two verses, two choruses plus a short bridge section in the middle of the song. It is a furious, exciting hardcore blast featuring single-syllabic gang vocals that fit the pace of the song very well, as it would have had no time for long drawn out vocal phrases. CBK can clearly do fast hardcore songs extremely well as ‘Give’r (Reprise)’ shows, but they can also do slower paced songs just as well. Slower usually means heavier, but this is unfortunately not the case with the intro of ‘One Left Satisfied’
; however, after a minute it suddenly changes from standard quavers to a fast, shuffle. It gives the song a happy disposition despite the raw, screamed vocals which makes it very different from the other tracks here, and also, makes it very enjoyable.
Apart from these two highlights in the second half of the album, good quality tracks are basically non-existent. Instead, the rest of the songs are average, leaving little impression and doing no more than you’d expect the band to do. ‘Industry Standards’
is a fast paced song, especially in the verse, with impassioned vocals, yet it fails to excite. It makes nice use of unexpected tempo changes, but aside from this unforeseen change it leaves little impression having a weaker chorus compared to some of the better songs here. Equally fast is ‘Come Around’
. It slows down in the chorus, but it is a short respite from a song that’s main stand-out point is that it is faster than the other songs, yet goes so fast that it lacks the aggression that is needed in this kind of hardcore.
The next two songs come and go without leaving much impact, although there is some really good sounding guitar parts in the verses and breakdown of ‘In Case Of Fire’
and some nice drumming in ‘Market Demands’
. The album ends somewhat disappointingly with ‘In/Tuition’
. It starts out mid-tempo, different from most of the album, which can work really well but doesn’t here as it doesn’t sound as frantic as it could, and the rhythm section in particular is fairly lacklustre and simplified. There are some nice time changes leading into verses that keep it interesting, but as a whole it is nothing memorable, which is what a good album closer should be. At the end it fades out instead of burning out, and this gives a weird feel to the end of the album as you leave feeling that the song has ended too early, and that there should be more to come – unfortunately there isn’t.
‘Broadcasting…’ could easily have been an excellent album. There are some excellent tracks here: see (or more accurately – listen to) the title track, ‘Hailing On Me’, ‘Defeated’ and ‘the Blackstone’. Unfortunately these four songs are the first four songs on the album, and although there are other songs of a notably high standard later on, the vast majority of the albums quality is spent early on. The rest of it could possibly be classed as filler, there is nothing wrong with most of the songs here, but alternately there isn’t a whole lot right with a number of the tracks here. A lot of them seem uninspired and are disappointing, especially after such a strong start to the album. Overall, the average songs fractionally outweigh the good (really good) which is a disappointment as the good songs show just how good this album could have been.