Review Summary: A little short, but you know what they say, 'The Best Things Come In Small Packages'.
If you were to have a conversation with anyone who's a fan of the 90's Emo scene, or the Melodic Hardcore scene, you'll probably find that most of them will mention Lifetime. It's not surprising, after all, they have influenced quite a few bands in the New Jersey music scene and beyond, influencing bands such as Thursday, The Movielife, Saves The Day, New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, and even Canadian Post Hardcore band Silverstein. Basically, if it wasn't for Lifetime, the bands I just mentioned probably wouldn't exist today. While there are quite a few fans that cite 'Jersey's Best Dancers' as their best work, there are also quite a few who cite 'Hello Bastards' as being that album.
'Hello Bastards' is not as melodic as it's successor, but it's still got just as much of an impact as that record, a cracking slice of emotional Melodic Hardcore that clocks in just under 25 minutes. This album has really stood the test of time since it's release in 1995, and it still sounds as good today as it did back then (not that I'd know this though, I was only about 2 years old at the time of it's release!).
As for the songs themselves, all 12 tracks contained are short but brilliant songs which just ooze with emotion in their short time. In fact, none of the songs get too close to the 3 minute mark, with the songs being about 2 and a half minutes at longest. However, this doesn't lessen their impact.
'Daneurysm' kicks things off to an excellent start, starting off with a speedy melodic riff before slowing things down about halfway through the song. 'Rodeo Clown' follows on from that, starting off with an awesome guitar riff, and maintains it's awesomeness throughout the 2:03 minutes of the song, and the quality of the album remains consistent throughout. While listening to this album, you can see how big an influence it has had on the current generation of bands, and the cover of Husker Du's 'It's Not Funny Anymore' hints at the bands own influences.
As for the lyrics, like 'Jersey's Best Dancers', most of the songs are about relationships, but Lifetime tackle this topic well, unlike many of the bands writing horrible lyrics about break ups (yes, Simple Plan, I'm looking at you), and they are much better then lyrics that all the current Pop Punk bands are churning out nowadays.
Overall, this is an amazing album, and any punk fan should give this a listen at some point. It's not for everyone, and some people might be put off by singer Ari Katz's voice, but it's still an album that's worth listening to at least once.