Review Summary: Continuance pulled influences from all over this time and managed to write one of the best hardcore albums released in a long time.
Continuance has some big expectations to meet. A band that is comprised of members from both Saints Never Surrender and Means looks great on paper, so naturally fans everywhere were stoked to hear of the new band forming in the wake of the former two breaking up. Their demo set the standards high for the upcoming full length and put Continuance on many new fan’s radars. So does “Carry Ourselves” meet the high expectations put on them from the beginning? Yes, in so many more ways than fans had hoped for.
“Carry Ourselves” starts with a short, atmospheric intro that leads directly into “Distaste for Truth”. The first song starts with heavy hitting guitars and drums, showing Continuance at full force. Before long it goes into an ambient lead that plays out for a short time, only to break off into a verse that acts as a punch in the face, with Dylan and Tyler screaming at full force. Instantly it sounds like a band that has definitely matured past their roots. Max and Stephan are constantly playing very technical leads, while John is never missing a beat in his inventive drumming. As “Distaste for Truth” comes to its end, the energy is picked up again in the next song and continues throughout the album. “As You Break” makes fantastic use of alternating screaming with a guest appearance by Joel Otte from Brothers, while “The Greatest Need” sounds better than ever with some improvement from the original demo.
“No Compass” is undoubtedly one of the tracks that will be talked about. It’s the first Continuance song to feature singing and what a difference it makes. The guitars drive the song, while the drum fills and back up screaming bring more energy as the song progresses. Lyrically, Dylan brought his A game. The lyrics are filled with passion and hope as heard especially toward the end of the song. “This violent sea is not the home we know, it falls to us. Who’s steady hand will guide us on” gets me every time, with Todd Mackery’s (With Honor) fantastic singing finishing the song. Continuance has never sounded so strong and confident in their music.
As “Carry Ourselves” progresses, we see more experimentation. The most obvious example is “Once We’ve Seen”. The light, airy guitar that opens the song gives listeners the notion it will just be an interlude, but it quickly picks up with driving bass and drumming. At the climax of the song, everything comes in at full force with an incredible lead line soaring over the music as it intensifies. Finally, Dylan’s vocals take control of everything and demand your attention as he screams “Stories left untold by young lives taken before their time...” This short song (1:35) has more intensity than many entire albums have. After this the music almost completely drops out to light distortion over muffled drumming. This then cuts out and leads into “Beneath the Concrete”. At this point the album is reaching the end, so Continuance pulls out all they’ve got with these two last songs.
“The Dream Within” encompasses all of the experimentation and diversity Continuance has slowly slid in throughout the album. While it starts off as you’d expect, you’d be wrong to judge it off the intro. This song is loaded with energy. Between the intense and driving guitar, heavy hitting drums, and passionate screams this energy is displayed throughout the duration of the song. All of the fans will love this song live for the major throw down part beginning at 1:15. The guitar rides out, as another lead carries it in and demands movement while John hits the drums harder than ever and Dylan screams raise the intensity. As if this wasn’t enough to make the song superb, it builds up from the remains of the breakdown into another verse that leads into a fully sung ending. I get chills the minute the clean vocals come in, as they soar over Dylan’s screams. Once they take over fully, the song hits its peak and reaches a level Continuance has never reached before. This leads into the last song “We Arm Ourselves”. While is has no clean singing, it certainly isn’t a weak way to end the album at all. It uses more experimentation in its ambient parts and breaks from the action. As the album draws to a close, Continuance gives it all they’ve got with a strong lead and duel screaming carrying the album out.
Continuance has managed to write an album that’s not only better than everything else released so far this year, but is one of best albums I’ve heard in a while. Everything is incredibly tight and well written. Vocally, Dylan captures your attention from the first screams of “Distaste for Truth” to the very end of “We Arm Ourselves”. I can only expect incredible things from this band to come. Considering this is only their debut and they’ve already reached a quality level many bands never do, everyone should give this album a chance.