Review Summary: Halifax does it right by blending punk, rock and pop at a very high caliber.
Where would we be in music if artists/bands hadn’t started combining like (and sometimes completely opposite) genres together to put more variety in their sound? What if punk never got infused with metal, pop with rock or funk and jazz? And while I may never understand the idea of certain genre mixing (crunkcore, for example), it must appeal to somebody out there regardless of how ridiculous it seems. I wonder what the state of the music world would be like if people didn't decide to take risks on something new and different (among other staples of entertainment, like video games, movies and books). The horror…
Luckily, some of those musicians had the innate yearning for evolution and started throwing genres together to see what mixed well with others and it continues on and on today. Granted, there are those that have the utmost faith in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy and refuse to change, even if it would be for the better. They just keep on keepin’ on as long as people keep buying their crap and maybe the off chance it can still get them laid. I guess a job is a job, right? Then there are those that feel the need to change at every chance and opportunity, always jumping from their ship way before the sinking starts and leaving behind whatever it was that caused them to start getting recognized in the first place (musical ADHD, mayhaps?). I suppose you just have to take the bad with the good in these types of situations (even if the bad tends to be on the heavier side of the scale), which is why I am thankful for bands like Thrice, Cave In, Coheed and Cambria and The Dear Hunter. These bands (among others) have a somewhat constant evolution in their sound and yet have this uncanny ability to still be able to salvage the best parts of their previous efforts and combine them (however big or small) with whatever new idea(s) they are trying out next. Halifax is a band that started to do this very thing. They started out more as a pop punk outfit, and then decided to add rock into their mix with very successful results. Anyway, let’s move on to what you (possibly) came for; a review of an album from a band that you’ve probably never heard of.
The guys definitely go for more of a punk/rock sound this time around, and while they may lean slightly away from the pop punk sound of A Writer’s Reference
, they don’t completely abandon it with songs like “Hey Italy,” “I Told You So” and “Murder I Wrote” to fill that role. “Our Revolution,” on the other hand, is all rock spliced with some 80s cheese to top it off with its slick, sleazy intro alongside the ‘Hell Yeah’ opener of the chorus and the somewhat flashy guitar solo. I didn’t care for it at first, thinking the entire album was going for this sound, but after hearing a few more songs that notion was quickly tossed aside. While a few parts of the other 4 beginning tracks can resemble what “Our Revolution” is going for, it definitely is not the dominant sound happening on Inevitability
. It’s mostly constructed of upbeat rockers and a few slower moments here and there, all demonstrating the talents of Halifax.
“Nightmare” and “Anthem for Tonight” have some extremely strong vocal lines littered throughout the tracks, the second verse of the former especially. Mike Hanau’s vocals are a strong force here, even if he can occasionally get a little too high and sound a bit grating. The guitarists do their thing as well, always being active and complimenting each other with leads and rhythm backings, like on “Promise Me Tragedy,” or making use of harmonies (somewhat of a rarity in this style of music) throughout most of the songs and the majority of “Better Than Sex.” They may even overshadow Hanau’s vocals a little, hardly ever misstepping and always knowing when to come in and out of the spotlight. The drums are also a treat, always doing something interesting while performing fills at appropriate times and never just falling to the background. The bass is good when you can hear it, but is a little too far back in the mix. When it does get its chance to be heard (the last 3 tracks and “Giant in the Ring” being the most prominent examples) it pulls it off quite nicely and is welcome addition among the other instrumental and vocal performances.
The album does slow it down a bit, placing a few less aggressive, mid tempo pop/rock tracks in towards the middle. “Such a Terrible Trend” and “Giant in the Ring” are some of the oddballs of the CD. The verses are well executed (the guitarists hang back a bit to let the vocals and bass take charge) but the choruses just kind of drag when the guitars come back in (one of their rare missteps) and the vocal lines aren’t nearly as interesting either, as showcased in the verses. The latter’s chorus improves on the last time through, adding a new lead part and some more vocals to spice it up, it just comes in a little late. There are just a few iffy areas, but when the album turns it on, it brings it. “Promise Me Tragedy” has an aggressive punk momentum to it, full of tight guitar riffs and sweeping vocal lines. It’s only slightly marred when it slows down for the bridge, but once it gets going again, you almost forget it even happened. “A Tint of Rain” furthers this trend with its beautifully eerie verses, huge choruses and a very well-orchestrated instrumental bridge. Hanau hits all the right notes here, belting out some of the best vocals we have heard from him yet, along with both guitars displaying some of their finest songwriting talents as well. They lay low on the first verse with clean arpeggios and then crank up the distortion for the chorus and the latter half of the second verse on. It’s songs like these that are almost too good to be true and makes me wish the guys could work out whatever caused Hanau to split so they could follow this album up in true Halifax fashion.
While the band’s future is questionable without Mike Hanau standing front and center as their vocalist, the guys did some impressive work with Inevitability
. They released an EP titled Align
in 2010 with guitarist Chris Brandt taking over the reins and while it still had some of that Halifax sound, it seemed lacking that special spark that came with this release and A Writer’s Reference
. The band has been fairly quiet since then and only time will tell what the future holds for them, but I sincerely hope they come out on top and keep making music. It’s just too bad that we might not ever get to see what they could have been at their highest potential since Inevitability
was such a close step in that direction.