Review Summary: The Note is an excellent album that is a fresh experience and is a progression for one of the best hardcore bands out there
Letting go of something can be the hardest thing a person has to do in a lifetime. I know this by experience. Whether it’s letting go of a love or leaving the home that you had made a sanctuary of, it’s always a difficult and grating to do. Moving from another city, or letting go of a love, it’s something that develops over time. The pain is unsettling and the memories you had hit you like a crashing wave. Bane knows this all too well. “The Note” is a recount of the band’s journey through their past and re-living those memories, wishing to preserve them, don’t we all? As one listens to the fist-pumping anthems of letting go of what we love, one can’t help but relate to what Bane is trying to say.
While the band has opted to soften things up, the change in direction is a healthy, therapeutic and fresh for the band. The band trades in their trademark rapid fire intensity and instead gains a sense of maturity seldom seen in hardcore bands of their nature. This mixed with a consistent and impressive instrumental backing; “The Note” is an excellent album that is a fresh experience that takes a few treads to really get going. The fist-pumping energy that was so apparent and distinctive in Bane’s sound has been to some extent been diminished and has been replaced by a willingness to delve into the introspective side of things (lyrically) and flexing their musical skills. The progression of the band seems to be one that is more natural as compared to most bands, and that can be easily seen in the masterpieces of the record “End with an ellipsis”, “Pot Committed” and the astonishing closer “Swan Song”. These shape the albums brilliance, and one can only expect Bane to be able to deliver such songs after a four year gap between “The Note” and the spectacular “Give Blood”.
Whilst the band’s progression, Bane haven’t forgotten their turbulent past, and it shows on this record. Their hardcore upbringing can be seen almost immediately when singer Aaron Bedard hammers out lines with bludgeoning precision on “Woulda Coulda Shoulda”. The fist-pumping energy that dominated “Give Blood” is more prevalent on songs like these, including “What Keeps Us Here”, “Hoods Up” and “Don’t Go”. But what propels these thrashers to a elevated level is Aaron Bedard’s electrifying voice. The amount of power the man possesses in his voice is unrivaled, though it takes a while to get into. It is much like the voices of Billy Corgan and Zach De La Rocha, an acquired taste. But there’s too many instances where the band seems to have slowed down in pace, and the more rapid-in-nature songs suffer as a result. “Hoods Up” and “One for the boys” are mediocre and, while they still might be decent songs in comparison to typical hardcore, they still don’t have that visceral energy that Bane has carved a niche of. Which is a disappointment, considering the expectations fans had for this record, one could only hope that the band would get even more precise with their execution, which is the ultimate downfall of this album.
But the brilliance of this record is seen in the lyrics more than any other element of the album. Every song is sincere, introspective and somehow nostalgic for the band and the listener which is very special. The lyrics to “End with an ellipsis”, “Swan Song” and “Pot Committed” are deeply personal, tackling subjects like the death of a loved one, leaving a home and drug abuse, all discussed with a knack for simple poetry. The lyrical highlight is “Don’t Go” which includes a beautiful excerpt:
I wish that I could spread my arms so wide
That I could wrap them around everyone I’ve ever known and loved
Protects them from the crashing wave
The storms that will take us all one at a time
The unheard goodbyes that we are never ready to whisper
The musicianship, though less attacking than before, is more technical this time around. Guitarist Aaron Delbac is able to experiment a bit more on songs like “End with an ellipsis” where a subtle chord progression dominates the song throughout its beautiful and serene breakdowns (not in the original sense of the term), until it reaches a raging climax. The use of eerie keyboards is seen in the easing “Pot Committed” until Aaron Bedard unleashes a flurry of anger on to the listener spitting out lines I don’t give a *** if my words have grown old/I’ve never been so willing to see a relationship fray/I don’t give a *** how thin this ice has become
. “Swan Song” is everything the title implies. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect ender for this record, encapsulating all the emotions and themes of the album into one slick song. Starting off brooding and quick, the song soon churns out into different directions. It transitions to an instance of vocal ability never seen by Aaron Bedard. He sings the lyrics exactly like the descriptions of the lyrics themselves. Blaring his voice like trumpets and the voice of cannons roaring, it’s an astonishing moment as the band collectively yells in anguish “I will come back for you!” An invitation to the listener, there’s more to come and more to see.