Review Summary: Wonderful melodic crust...with a violin!
The paucity of good information about underground punk and hardcore bands can truly be a tragedy at times. I often find myself wishing that we had a resource like Encyclopedia Metallum with which one might be able to browse all the demos and split 7”s of even your most underground Chilean d-beat band. But no, we have to piece together information from cryptic Last.fm pages, often outdated archive sites with broken links, and punk record label sites. When you do manage to find a good band, though, that makes the wait all the more worthwhile, and Remains of the Day are certainly one of those cases.
Hailing from Portland, OR, Remains of the Day play a particularly crushing form of melodic crust, employing the use of a violin in many of their songs. Their style is comparable to the epic crust made famous by Tragedy et al., but with a melodic twinge and an ear for tension and release that places them several rungs above their peers.
The instrumentation on this album is superb, even in a genre where instrumentation isn’t always the key to a good band. The drumming is particularly top-notch, holding the album together very smoothly. The bass player is also adept, easily keeping up with the fast-paced guitar work. A big plus for his sound is the production – his distorted madness is relatively high up in the mix, giving the album a very enjoyable crunch. The guitar work is some of the finest I’ve heard, with amazing riffs that simply blow you apart while still retaining a fine sense of melody.
This brings us to the violin. It can often be difficult to properly integrate non-traditional instruments into crust, but Remains of the Day pull it off very well, utilizing it for atmosphere in between sections of pummeling riffage as well as to accompany said riffage. It adds a lot to the band’s sound, amplifying the forlorn feeling that they exude, like walking through an abandoned city after the evils of capitalistic imperialism have destroyed the denizens.
Another very strong suit of the band is their song organization. As I said, they have an ear for tension and release, and in many ways they remind me of some of the greats of the screamo genre, perhaps Daitro or Pg.99. The band’s musical skill is made clear by how easily they change the direction of the song at the drop of a dime; the album is full of this, with peaceful melodic interludes that only serve to amplify the hellishness and extremity of the riffs that they separate.
I really have nothing but good things to say about this album. If you’re not a big fan of the genre, it could seem same-ish, but the album is rather succinct and does a good job of keeping you pulled in. I would recommend it for everybody, but especially for fans of Tragedy, His Hero Is Gone, Kakistocracy, From Ashes Rise, and bands of similar nature.