Verse
Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace


3.5
great

Review

by Martin L. USER (44 Reviews)
July 18th, 2012 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well it certainly beats working at a pizza place

Of all the uniting factors in hardcore punk, one of the most prevalent is that of aging and how a band confronts it. It makes sense. The genre is so rooted in youth-- its pervasive naivete and aches. Some try to break from the mold, freeing themselves from the constraints of hardcore and breaking into more “mature” territory. The experiment isn’t without its share of successes, but it has many more offerings like Defeater’s Empty Days And Sleepless Nights that strangle itself with over-dramatic, overwrought themes and pisspoor ability to execute them. On the flip side, others like Henry Rollins chose to confront aging with a stolid “Fuck you” by choosing to stick steadfast in principles and philosophy, more or less. Let’s not even mention recent Cro-Mags activity... To adapt or to maintain-- amidst their surprising, recent reformation, Verse were faced with this issue. Rather than commit heartedly to one side or the other, their latest displays the reformed band toeing the line of maturation and progression with clarity and grace.

Merely perusing the tracklisting, one can see that Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace has some sort of wrinkles strewn in the mix; the trio of “Segue” tracks and the duet of “Selfish” and “Selfless” are most visible. Little complexities in structure like this may not seem like much, but for a former straight-edge band (“breaking edge” was the reason for the breakup, in fact) that was so straightforward and brazen, intricacies like these are conspicuous. Curiously, this stylistic change in pace doesn’t necessarily equal a shift in sound for Verse. Similar to Aggression, we’re still treated to an impassioned, rhythmic pummeling from the punks amidst crunching (yet somewhat groovy, even) guitars and a general lack of abrasion throughout.

Don’t take Bitter Clarity for stagnation, though. While Verse maintain sonically on a similar track, the listener is treated to a nice change of pace via aspects like the aforementioned “Segue” tracks. The breaks add a connecting factor throughout, displaying a band that knows when to shut up, and how that can add emphasis on sections that call for it. Tracks like “You And I Are The Fortunate Ones” and “The Silver Spoon And The Empty Plate” are two in particular whose energy is only highlighted by the more conscientious pacing.

More than anything, this is the same Verse from previous records-- and that’s by no means a bad thing. The album is powerful and punchy, but who didn’t see that coming? A few of the early tracks are definitely competitors for Verse’s best-written songs, even. Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace leaves them room to grow, but doesn’t shoot impossibly high by any means. Too many bands fear wilting away and overwater the plant-- killing it in the process, but Verse avoid this path with ease and display a penchant for natural progression.



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user ratings (97)
Chart.
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great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2012


50458 Comments


I'm not a huge fan of Aggression so my expectations are pretty low

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

Spec
July 17th 2012


27179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Aggression was better.

carouse
July 17th 2012


302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is about on par with Aggression, for me.

Spec
July 17th 2012


27179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's like a three.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 18th 2012


4950 Comments


great review

cryMore
July 18th 2012


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

like Defeater’s Empty Days And Sleepless Nights that strangle itself with over-dramatic, overwrought themes and pisspoor ability to execute them.

You didn't just cheap shot Defeater

steventon
July 18th 2012


152 Comments


never understood why reviewers feel the need to take digs at other bands/albums when writing reviews. it just comes off super snarky and makes it look like you cant articulate your point any better. not that I care one way or the other about that Defeater album, but yeah

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2012


15740 Comments


it can sometimes help in contextualizing where an album stands in a "scene"

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Funeralopolis
July 18th 2012


11419 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"like Henry Rollins chose to confront aging with a stolid “Fuck you”

stolid

Digging: Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise

KSK1
July 18th 2012


4084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"You didn't just cheap shot Defeater"

ED&SN kinda sucked dude. That shot was more than deserved.

cryMore
July 18th 2012


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You've clearly not heard it played live then. That album ruled

KSK1
July 18th 2012


4084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have seen them but it was a long time ago before I cared about them. The album may not have even been out yet. I love Travels though.

Blackbelt54
July 18th 2012


4275 Comments


I need to get this

Lost Ground is my favorite Defeater release by far

Digging: Cayetana - Nervous Like Me

BassDemon333
July 18th 2012


3383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album rules, but yes, Aggression was a bit better.

XingKing
July 18th 2012


10726 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album was a huge let down compared to Aggression. I especially hate the pretentious song titles. Loved the review.

carouse
July 18th 2012


302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You didn't just cheap shot Defeater


never understood why reviewers feel the need to take digs at other bands/albums when writing reviews. it just comes off super snarky and makes it look like you cant articulate your point any better. not that I care one way or the other about that Defeater album, but yeah


It absolutely helped me articulate my point better. In my eyes it was a perfect example to exemplify the premise. How did you not notice it was an example for the point I was trying to make, where it led me to a point about the album?

stolid


Sorry, but what's your point? I'm pretty sure it's not the one you're trying to make.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 18th 2012


23848 Comments


i keep forgetting that Verse have a new album. will check it out eventually but I'm doubtful that it will be great.

steventon
July 18th 2012


152 Comments


"It absolutely helped me articulate my point better. In my eyes it was a perfect example to exemplify the premise. How did you not notice it was an example for the point I was trying to make, where it led me to a point about the album?"

because as a reader, this is usually the cue for me to switch off from the rest of the review if A) I liked that album or B) havent heard/don't know it. Saying "well its good in comparison to album x, because album x sucked chodes" comes across as an excuse to make a snarky comment towards something that isnt even relevant to the merits of what you are reviewing. If something is good, its good on its own merits, it doesnt need to be compared to it's peers.

i mean other than that the review was solid, thats just something that always irks me whenever I read it. I might check this out as I dug what I heard of Aggression

carouse
July 18th 2012


302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

because as a reader, this is usually the cue for me to switch off from the rest of the review if A) I liked that album or B) havent heard/don't know it. Saying "well its good in comparison to album x, because album x sucked chodes" comes across as an excuse to make a snarky comment towards something that isnt even relevant to the merits of what you are reviewing. If something is good, its good on its own merits, it doesnt need to be compared to it's peers.

i mean other than that the review was solid, thats just something that always irks me whenever I read it. I might check this out as I dug what I heard of Aggression

Never once did I compare Defeater and Verse. In the introduction I hadn't revealed any hint whatsoever about how Verse dealt with aging and maturation-- this (how a hardcore band deals with such) was the single reason I brought them up, remember? That makes points like:
If something is good, its good on its own merits, it doesnt need to be compared to it's peers.

complete nonsense because I never compared the two. I only discussed how one dealt with aging as a way to lead into how I felt about the way Verse dealt with it.

cryMore
July 18th 2012


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't read past Defeater, review might as well have been a middle finger in my face at that point



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