Review Summary: how much further can shit go south?
American hardcore band Expire have been a pretty popular band since their debut EP Grim Rhythm was released in 2010. Their subsequent releases were all raw slabs of meaty, riffy hardcore, narrated intensely with the rapidly barked yelps and growls of Josh Kelting. When their album Pendulum Swings dropped, the band’s song structures became simpler, their production cleaner, and their bass less prominent. More chuggy than the band’s other work, the record was very short-lived to all but Tumblr girls who endlessly reblog band GIF’s, and the short song lengths made the overall product even more unsatisfying, especially to those all too aware of the band’s ability to craft memorable songs. The prospect of a new album wasn’t very appealing, and when the record landed my worst suspicions were confirmed: the band had refused to improve at all.
With cheesy lyrics, grating vocals brimming with directionless rage and a production job reducing every instrument to its most basic value (paper thin guitars, saturated bass and a snare drum simply too loud for its own good), Expire reach a level summed up well by the title of their second full length. The guest vocals spice things up a bit, but the song structures are so predictable and generic that even making the songs a little lengthier can’t save the vast majority of them from a fate worse than mediocrity. And that’s all there is to say about the new Expire record, yet another disappointing addition to the American hardcore scene that shows that even bands previously displaying promise eventually fall victim to a common ailment: the dreaded sophomore slump. Then again, if your debut isn’t much good then I guess judging your second record by such standards is a pretty pointless exercise.