Review Summary: A release by a Metalcore band with actual originality and talent!
In just 5 tracks A Textbook Tragedy manages to show how much better they have become since 2007’s Intimidator as well as staying ahead of the metalcore curve.
It is also apparent that the members of A Textbook Tragedy have grown both in their instrumental skills and as a cohesive unit, as a result much of the flashy technicality found in 2007’s Intimidator being slightly toned down for a more hardcore-feel both speed and riff-wise. I mean, the instrumentation is phenomenal; they just don’t need to show off as much anymore.
I mean seriously, drummer Nick Yacyshyn is an absolute beast throughout and guitarists Kai Turmann and Adam Christianson providing razor-sharp riffs throughout while bassist Bill Crook keeps each song grounded.
Vocally, this EP has everything you could ask for with vocalist Chris Bahris’s raspy growl and guitarist/vocalist Kai Turmann higher-pitched hardcore yell bringing it in every track, as well as this the rest of the band providing gang vocals in almost every song and bassist Bill Crook providing occasional melodic singing, with both the singing and gang chants are only added to a song when it’s right.
The whole band’s vocal talents really bring the lyrics of each track to life, with the lyrics actually being quite impressive ranging from the everyday life each member left behind to be in their band and not regretting a thing ‘White Lightning’ to their absolute disgust with the music scene ‘What’s Pit Beef?’
Opening the record with ‘Destroyed in Seconds’ no prisoners are taken with incredible drumming, garrote-tight riffing and chaotic vocals played at hardcore pace eventually giving way to an absolute vicious breakdown towards the end of the track, but trust me, it still manages to keep the energy up.
This energy continues throughout the next track ‘White Lightning’, opening with a gang chant before flooring the accelerator and not looking back, with the vocalists managing to sound even more insane than the previous track and the instrumentation going on in the background akin to the sound of car crash, albeit with a bit more structure.
The next two tracks ‘What’s Pit Beef’ and ‘Lincoln City’ like the first two tracks, don’t slow down at all and display jaw-dropping instrumentation, with the sheer vitriol as the lyrics are spat out during ‘What’s Pit Beef’ showing that they mean every word they are saying and ‘Lincoln City’ having a breakdown during its second half that displays absolute viciousness before jumping back up to speed manages to almost send chills down the spine.
The opening of the final track ‘The West Coast Answer’ is a almost doom-like guitar riffing before the vocals kick in and the best riffs of the album are displayed before gradually gaining speed until Kai enters vocally and the any restraint the band had just disappears, not letting upon until the very end.
Fast, brutal, catchy and showing actual talent and originality, what more do you want from an EP?
As well as this, the band managed to record this live, no studio touch-ups or anything, now that shows some confidence.