Review Summary: It's a solid follow up to a beloved record, but it lacks any moments that will make you dying to hear the songs again.
Incendiary’s third LP Thousand Mile Stare is a staple in the bands discography and a highly anticipated follow up to the masterful Cost of Living. However, as much as I like this band, and as much as I want to love this record, I don’t find myself returning to it as much as I wish I wanted to. All ten songs are solid and form a record that is clearly from Incendiary, but none of them stand out to me or ‘wow’ me in a way that makes me urgent to hit the replay button.
I think the factor most responsible for this reaction is that there aren’t any standout moments in any of the songs. That sounds like a generic complaint, and maybe it is, but what I mean in this context is that the songs are structured and written in a way that, were it not for Garrone’s voice or the guitar tones, I don’t think I could distinguish these songs from any other moderately popular Hardcore band.
I hate to draw comparisons to a bands’ previous albums, but if you look at Cost of Living or even Crusade, you can pick out a moment from almost any song that makes you think “oh yeah, this is the song with that part”, i.e. a standout moment. Like towards the end of “Primitive Rage” from Cost of Living when Garrone is absolutely belting “Forcing a ***ing reckoning” and the guitar that is answering his cries is just pummeling your ears and all you want to do is split your head open on a cinderblock (or grab the mic, whatever suits you). Or on “Anesthesia” from Crusade when it climaxes with “Medicate me and numb the pain” being repeated with increasing tenacity and bitterness. Moments like those are why I listen to Hardcore and particularly Incendiary because they’ve been so good at it. Moments like these raise your heartrate and spike your adrenaline like nothing else, and honestly if you’ve heard those songs I probably didn’t even have to describe the parts that I did for you to play them in your head note for note.
Thousand Mile Stare doesn’t have any of those moments. If it does, then they aren’t strong enough for me to recognize them right now. I don’t hold this opinion solely because of the presence of such moments on Cost of Living because although I was expecting them, I think even without that expectation the songs can easily be thought of as generic. The second half of “Poison” and the part in “Still Burning” where Garrone goes A capella are the only ones that come close. Maybe I’ll come around though, because despite my existing complaints this album has actually grown on me significantly since I first heard it. Hopefully that trend continues.
With the above complaints being voiced, Garrone’s voice still has that perfect blend of screaming anger and coherence, and the band as a whole is still showing signs of being able to bring it, but I think they dropped the ball in terms of separating this record from the pack. I still love Incendiary and will eagerly listen to anything they put out, but this record is missing what got them to where they are today.