Review Summary: Remembering Never is much more memorable on this release.
Depending on how you look at it, Remembering Never
has taken a step forward on this album. The reason I say, "Depending on who you look at it” Is that some music fans might call this album more "mainstream" (because we all know that gaining in popularity makes you a sellout).... or, on the other hand, they might say its more "focused” I am choosing the latter.
last album, Woman and Children Die First
, didn't come up short in the brutality department, nor did it lack heart and conviction, the biggest problem i had was that i was 'Never Remembering' (ha ha, ok no more jokes) most of the songs five minutes after I heard them. This album, however, has managed to be a lot catchier without compromising the things that you love about this band.
God Save Us
starts off with the track, "Con Artist" which begins with Pete clearing his throat and then smashing right into the madness that will set the tone for the rest of the cd. The improved production is instantly noticeable as the dissonant guitars are more distinct, the drums have more punch, and the vocals are much easier to hear.
One of this bands biggest strengths, is the vocal work of Pete Kowalski. When this guy says something, he makes you believe that he means it. The lyrical topics range all over the place, from pro straightedge, to anti-animal cruelty, anti religion, to growing up poor, and even the frustrations of being in a touring band. You'll rarely ponder what the point of a song is, because they are made abundantly clear with lines like, "murder is a family value in almost every home" in "Slaughter House Blues" and "God Turns his deaf ear to me, (like I'm the one that doesn't exist" as heard on "White Devil". These are some of the edgiest lyrics you'll find in hardcore today. There is undeniable passion behind every line on this record. He's extremely blunt and to the point, and finds ways to say things that others have said before in a fresh way. You may be hearing things that have been sung about before, but I doubt its been said with more balls and attitude than this guy. He has also shown that he can write positive songs too, such as track 11, "Selma" which is about a positive female role model in his life, which is most likely his mother. Some say its too preachy, but its better to rate based on originality and execution rather than if you share Pete's opinion.
Now that we've covered the message, how about the sound? Pete has a very strong screaming voice, it’s extremely aggressive, yet he does an excellent job annunciating most of the lines on the record. He also has a very descent singing voice, which he uses VERY sparingly (you'll hear it on "Suicide Hotline On Speed Dial” so don’t buy this album expecting any ballads.
The rest of the band continues to do what they do best, which is straight edge tough guy hardcore, wrapped in an unconventional package. there are off the wall chaotic riffs like you'd hear in red chord, and also melodic hardcore phrasing comparable to Shai Hulud. The riffs are very innovative, and everything they do is just HEAVY. One problem in metalcore today is that there are a lot of bands that sound too similar, almost to the point where "rip off" might be a better description. You won’t get this with these guys; they aren’t easily confused with other bands.
The rhythm Section plays hard and doesn’t let up the tempo very often. The guitar players very skillfully weave from chaotic and complicated, to simple but devastating in the same song. They know when to play together, and when to do their own thing to add layers to the song. While one guitar jack hammers in unison to the bass drum, the other often is playing something completely different behind it to set different moods.
The Drums fit the music, they're off the wall when they need to be, driving and brutal for breakdowns and epic for choruses. They are very skillfully done, and the drummer does a good job at finding more interesting ways to play certain tempos.
The Bass also shows up adding a lot of mood in some parts and punch to others. The bass is also used to build up/intro some of the heaviest breakdowns, check out the chorus in "slaughter house blues"
While retaining their more chaotic hardcore sound, Remembering Never
has also made their song structures much easier to hold onto. Many listeners will be glad for this improvement. By using some repetition and using the most memorable lyrics, ("I'll be sleeping with your ghost tonight" or "I wont stop screaming until everyone is listening, I wont stop burning down the houses that your sleeping in") in the right places, I think they've gotten the right combination of catchy, outside the box, and Brutality. The best examples of this are found in tracks 2, "Pocket Full of Dirt” 3, “Slaughterhouse Blues," and 6. "Suicide Hot Line on Speed Dial". With that said though, there are great lines and crushing riffs in just about every song.
This album has far more strengths than weaknesses. The biggest complaint most listeners will have is that some of the songs sound too similar. Fortunately for the band and the listeners, the vocals/lyrics are good enough so that the parts that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle will stand out in your mind. A good goal for the band, or mainly the guitar players is to strive to write more riffs that will stand out on their own.
All in all, God Save Us
is a much stronger effort for Remembering Never
, they've improved in all the places they needed to, with better production, and more memorable songs, and yet they haven’t compromised "Their" sound in the least, I think Hardcore and metal fans alike will be able to appreciate this album, if you can be ok with the fact that you might not agree with everything Pete says, then i think this disc will get a fair amount of rotation in your cd player.