Review Summary: Though Discharge's self-titled album disguises itself as a victorious return to the band's hardcore punk roots, it simply gives the impression of a band failing to reach former glories.
When a band decides to release a self-titled album, it's usually done so to give a statement of intent or as a reminder that musically, things are changing. Neither of these could be applied to Discharge's sixth full-length album, given that instead of continuing the band's thrash-metal inspired sound of Shootin Up the World
, they decided to return to the hardcore punk era and release a set of songs which collaborate to a total running time of under 30 minutes.
is significant in the band's historical career if only because it is the last album to feature long-time vocalist Cal, who for the most part sounds like a man trying to emulate the aggression and the intensity of his own voice twenty years before, and consequently failing. Whilst the vocal delivery may not be quite the biggest flaw, it's certainly the most obvious if you've listened to every other Discharge album. He tries hard on songs such as “Almost Alive” and “M.A.D.”, but the obvious effort put into this aspect of the band's sound just doesn't prove as effective as it should. Perhaps it is a case of being middle-aged and living like it's 1981, but the fact that Cal's performance on here is below average is unfortunate, especially since Discharge
was his last album with the band.
The first half of the album is where the band's creative and chaotic sound is at its best, even if it doesn't sound as convincing as Discharge's earlier years. Songs like “You deserve me”, “Corpse of Decadence” and “Accessories by Molotov” are all made up of heavy, furious riffs, extremely intense velocity and enough hatred to turn happy thoughts into murderous ones. And that's essentially what made Discharge one of the most well-renowned influences of extreme metal itself. It's just that when the second half of the album rears it's ugly head, any thoughts of Discharge
being a standard hardcore punk album are suddenly quashed. “Hype Overload” and “You” both revel in lazy instrumentation and songwriting, and the all-round performance is well below average. These songs aren't absolutely terrible, just bland and uninspired. Despite having a fairly decent rhythm section (The guitar work and drum work here are especially well done), every song here gives one the impression that it's been done too many times-and that's essentially why Discharge
isn't that good.
was probably seen as a surprising comeback at the time of its release, but 12 years on, you come to understand that it's actually been done with more heart and feeling elsewhere. The main reason for Discharge's self-titled album being average is not in the songs, but in the effort and performance of the band's respective members. Cal himself probably did try his best to overcome the flaws plaguing his more recent vocal delivery, yet the result on this album doesn't seem all that convincing. Perhaps then, Discharge
was the perfect way for the vocalist to leave for good, leaving the rest of the band to continue with a hopefully more promising future.