A Wilhelm Scream
Career Suicide


5.0
classic

Review

by Dan Smith USER (74 Reviews)
May 18th, 2008 | 57 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Massachusetts tech-punk geniuses A Wilhelm Scream raise the bar yet again.

In the careers of truly amazing bands, there's usually a turning point to be found where the band transitions from just "great" or "good" to "***-the-bed-insane." This turning point is often triggered by the arrival of a new member, whose spectacular musical ability gives the rest of the band a sound kick up the arse and forces them to up their game somewhat. It happened to Iron Maiden when Bruce joined. It happened to NOFX with the arrival of El Hefe. And now it's happened to A Wilhelm Scream; after the relative underground successes of Mute Print and Ruiner, the New Bedford tech-punk masters have been joined by new bassist Brian Robinson, and subsequently kicked things up a notch or twelve.

Those already familiar with the band will no doubt be aware of their previously incredibly high standard of turbo-charged skate-punk, laced with a double shot of harmonies (of both the vocal and the guitar varieties), but even the highest of expectations will be smashed apart by Career Suicide. First and foremost, this is a fast and thoroughly relentless album from start to triumphant finish; some might call such an approach rather one-dimensional, but the sheer impact of every single track points more towards terms like "focused." Much has been said about the immense bass skills that Brian's brought to the table, but it really does bear repeating: the guy is an absolute MACHINE! There's barely a single moment where he's not throwing down insane runs up and down the fretboard, frantic fills, or bouncy melodic basslines, but never does he stray into the realm of over-playing, and every note he plays adds to and complements the rest of the music. As such, he's really turned up the heat for the rest of the band, with drummer Nick Angelini in particular turning in a stellar performance, with faster beats, more increasingly technical fills, and a much more aggressive approach than ever before. Not to be outdone, guitarists Trevor Reilly and Chris Levesque, in addition to their usual array of harmonised tapping riffs, speedy powerchord progressions, and melodic octave-chord lines, have pulled some frantic solos out of the bag, which compliment their increasingly technical lead guitar skills perfectly. Vocalist Nuno Pereira tops things off with a more refined performance than ever before; his more aggressive parts are gruffer and stronger sounding than previous efforts and the melodic parts, particularly the sublime three-part harmonies (shared with Trevor and Brian) are even smoother and more full-voiced than we've come to expect. It's also worth mentioning the fine production work by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore, with that signature punchy Blasting Room style taken to new levels of raw impact and clarity; one improvement being the slightly lesser emphasis on the vocal harmonies. At first this was a dissappointment, but it soon became obvious that in putting them lower in the mix, Jason and Bill have given Career Suicide a much more live feel.

Even in the face of such consistent quality and performance, there are still certain moments which will make your jaw drop. For example, the tight interplay in the rhythm section at the start of "5 to 9," where rapid bass tapping and intricate drumming lock together in an almost mathcore-like display of rhythmic finesse behind the melodic guitar flourishes. Or how about the infectious up-and-down lead guitar harmonies that herald the arrival of "These Dead Streets." Or then again there's the rapid vocal trade-offs and harmonies throughout "The Horse," not to mention the sick bass tapping towards the start of the song. And then there's the bass and guitar solos in "Jaws 3, People 0," and the snaking vocal harmonies at the start of "Cold Slither II," and the particularly frantic drumming during the intro of "Check Request Denied," and... Well, it's probably best I leave it at that, because if I were to continue with a comprehensive list of highlights, I'd end up listing pretty much every part of every song.

What is worth mentioning though, is the comparitive risks the band have taken with the songwriting here. The songs which do stick to the typical verse-chorus-verse structure are all typically short-sharp-shock affairs, like scorching opener "I Wipe My Ass With Showbiz," the thundering "Pardon Me, Thanks a Lot," and the title track, where the running times barely scrape the 90 second mark, meaning that the amount of repetition is minimal and, if anything, leaves the listener wanting more. In stark contrast to this, "The Horse" and epic closer "We Built This City! (On Debts and Booze)" reach their conclusions around the 5 minute mark. The band sustain the listener's interest by utilising unusual song structures, by cramming several ideas into each and every part, and by using subdued bridge sections to build up to several increasingly dramatic crescendos, before bursting into a final chorus laden with extra harmonies (in the latter) or an completely new ending part (the former). It's also worth pointing out that some of the shorter tracks also pack in almost as many ideas in half the time, with special mentions going to "Our Ghosts (Contemporary/Consensual)" and Japanese/Australian bonus track "Route 40 and 1 Six."

Even the lyrics on Career Suicide are particularly impressive, with the band's trademark humour coming through in some of the song titles ("Get Mad, You Son of a Bitch!" anyone?), and the gruesome portrayal of death at sea in "Jaws 3, People 0" ("How we ruined the day's remains/Sinful/The bodies splashed like paint/To see so many cockroaches running from the light."), and a somewhat philosophical view of humanity in "The Horse," comparing it to life as a racehorse ("The bastard strangle of this hateful world/Is a captive bolt-gun/We're disposable!"). These are just a few of the insightful, off-kilter, and interesting lyrical nuggets that the band have thrown out in their own distinctive style.

Despite all the praise I've heaped upon it, Career Suicide is still very much a grower. Upon first hearing it, only about half of the tracks really jumped out at me, and the rest sort of paled in comparison. But each subsequent listen revealed new delights and depths to the songs that I'd somehow missed before. It may take you a while to realise it, but make no mistake, there are absolutely no weak points, no downsides, no chinks in the armour of Career Suicide. This is the sort of album that inspires non-musicians to start playing, and seasoned musicians to hang up their instruments, frustrated in the knowledge that they'll never reach this kind of standard. In short, Career Suicide TOTALLY. FUCKING. RIPS.

Get it now, you son of a bitch!



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user ratings (534)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
pow3rtr1p (5)
In my opinion, A Wilhelm Scream is the epitome of what punk rock, when fused with the right amount o...

Mark Campbell (4.5)
Raw, fast, melodic, and pissed, Career Suicide is the album that by all rights should put AWS firmly...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 15th 2008


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I keep hearing about these guys... I think I'll finally give in and check them out.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Yazz_Flute
April 15th 2008


18783 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review. I love this fucking album.

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

Cesar
April 15th 2008


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amazing album and very good review, I'll vote. And Willie pliz check this album out, you won't regret.

npunk128
April 15th 2008


13 Comments


The next album I'm buying for sure


Serpento
April 15th 2008


2351 Comments


Great review, a bit overshooting but whatever, it's AWS.

JumpTheF**kUp
April 15th 2008


2710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, amazing album.
I am going to fucking see these motherfuckers in June and I could not be fucking happier fuck fuck fuck fuck. :D

Neoteric
April 15th 2008


3243 Comments


Nothing personal against you, but seriously, how many five star reviews do you have?

spoon_of_grimbo
April 15th 2008


2241 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i'm considering going back and changing a few, for example my review of in flames "come clarity" which has gone down to about a 4 for me now. tbh tho, that was because i hadn't listened to it enough when i reviewed it.

the whole mostly-positive reviews thing is because i tend mostly to review albums i like, as if there's one i don't like, i won't want to listen to it again to review it lol!

Neoteric
April 15th 2008


3243 Comments


Yeah, I understand that. I just noticed that everytime you submit a review it's either a 5 or a 4.5.

But it's cool, you can rate albums whatever you want.

Cesar
April 15th 2008


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think he probably feels more comfortable and it's easier for him to review albums that he loves.

spoon_of_grimbo
April 15th 2008


2241 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i have done a review of an anihilator album which i gave a 2 or something, but that's the only REALLY negative one i've done. i'll see though, there's a few i can think of to slate, but i made a list the other day of some albums i want to review which haven't been reviewed on here yet, and most are gonna be pretty positive tbh.

i felt the need to review this album because i genuinely think that in a few years time, this will be considered a classic in the genre.This Message Edited On 04.15.08

gasmaskman
April 15th 2008


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wouldn't call this a 5, but it's definitely an amazing album.
Good review.

Rocksta71
April 15th 2008


1023 Comments


cool album

Doppelganger
April 15th 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album, not a classic though.

Rocksta71
April 15th 2008


1023 Comments


yeah

Riverpeth
April 15th 2008


146 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah

SynGates
April 15th 2008


2467 Comments


Incredible album to say the least.

DBlitz
April 16th 2008


1690 Comments



I am going to ****ing see these mother****ers in June and I could not be ****ing happier **** **** **** ****.

Yea I hear they are coming to aus, I wanna go

I love this album

Willie
Moderator
April 16th 2008


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I bought this when I got home last night and I've only heard it once, but I wasn't really impressed at all. It wasn't until the fifth track that anything even caught my attention. I'll give it a few more listens though.

spoon_of_grimbo
April 16th 2008


2241 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

listen to it through headphones. there's a few little riffs and harmonies that i'd not noticed at all until i listened with headphones.



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