Melodic hardcore-punk, intertwined with the usual desperation of screamo, has not always been such a vast crowd pleaser as it is today, but quite arguably, the horizon to which it came from is swiftly fading. The Reason, who breeched into the music industry in the early stages of 2004, are nothing evidently special—that is, many fans of the genre will appreciate the music—but it not a breath of fresh air, nor is it particularly inspired; not to mention inspiring to any listener. I have always been a fan of hardcore—the music’s intensity, depth, and magnitude—however, it has become increasingly more annoying as the evolution of the genre has continued; and most fans, such as myself, have found themselves searching for hidden gems of the past, opposed to waiting for the next mediocre release of the future.
Either way, here we are stuck in an age of hardcore music—where those who produce and play it blindly believe that they are satisfying every need of their listeners—which, unfortunately, is far from the truth. The Reason are talented, there is no denying this, but we can only take so much of the not so impressive guitar riffs, unimaginative lyrics, and over the top screaming. Nowadays, it feels like every album released from a new group is a mixture or product of two existing bands fused together—and The Reason, if we are to follow this new method in hardcore for measuring a band’s tone, are probably a combination of Poison the Well and Story of the Year. However, while that combination might seem initially inviting, it is hardly milk and chocolate chip cookies.
I mean, even the Suicide Machines—originally a third wave Ska/Punk band—were able the make the crossover into the hardcore scene in a half decent fashion.
I picked up this album the other day after hearing some good things from a friend who saw them open at a concert, and while I certainly can’t blame them for the recommendation, it isn’t exactly going to keep me from expressing my opinion on it—which is a vibe of obvious disappointment, that is not to say that there aren’t—at least—a few decent tracks on this album. However, all I can really say is that “Tortoise", which is the last tune on the album, is how the entire album should have taken its direction. Here we are rewarded, after presumably surviving the previous nine tracks, with an extremely quick hardcore piece of work—consisting of every element existing that pleases; namely great mixtures of overlapped screaming and singing, a simple guitar riff that took the album back to the basics of hardcore and punk, and some well written lyrics too. I might go as far to say it is one of the best hardcore songs I have ever heard, but I guess I should just be grateful the album didn’t start off with this track, as it would have undoubtedly led to high expectations—ultimately ending up with a larger drop from the top.
The Reason does mix subtle sounds, such as harmonious stringed instruments or acoustic guitar melodies into some of their songs, particularly their interludes, which is always a nice change—but while this twist adds some unique elements, it may fail to win over any large audience. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are more than welcome to purchase the album—or, a cheaper example would be to simply download the ninth track “Afterparty at the Actor’s Estate".
A track-by-track review of this album will do nothing for whoever decides to read, respond, or rate this review. There is a good chance you probably own something on your CD rack pretty much like this, and hence I have only made specific mention to two tracks on the album as recommended samples. Yes, it is important to get a gauge on exactly how a band’s sound, well…sounds, but the Reason are simply too bland, too generic, and too cliché to need gauging.
If this is the shape of punk to come, I think the Refused may have misled us. I mean, wasn’t this era supposed to be full of music equally as addicting, entertaining and the like as, Er…say “New Noise"?