The Banner is a relatively unknown hardcore/horror punk style band out of New Jersey. I only know of them because I was being a vulture at my downtown music store when they were going out of business and I happened to pick it up. You might throw this into the commonly overrated pile of hardcore crap, but if you ever have a chance to get a copy of this album, you may find that it is better than you think. I'll put the website where you may obtain a copy at the end of this review. They released this in 2004 on Blackout!/Brightside Records.
Fingaz - bass
Ian - drums
Chris - guitar
Garrett - guitar
Joey - vocals
We start out this lovely album with Zombie Onslaught
. It begins with a movie bit about zombies eating their victims. If you've seen the classic Night Of The Living Dead
, then you will recognize this. Very nice. But after the news report clip, the song pounds in with some deep power chords. Now this part is obviously similar to a lot of metalcore bands with their one note breakdowns, but it doesn't last long. It gets extremely fast and remains that way for most of the song. When you first hear his screaming, you may be a little turned off, but just keep listening to it; you'll learn to respect its raunchyness. There's also a part in there from the movie, during this silent bit with some bass. The "they're coming to get you Barabara" part. One of my personal favorites.
Right after that song fades out, they burst into Skies Go Black
. The first song is a little slow getting into the song, but this one wastes no time. Most of this song is pretty fast-paced, but there is a nice harmonized breakdown toward the end. Joey's lyrics certainly add a sense of urgency to these songs, and this one is no different. It isn't the best on the album, but not the worst. Good, fast-paced hardcore.
Something that you will find common of this band is the use of movie clips to set the theme of the song. Sometimes They Come Back
borrows a few lines from Aliens
; if you haven't seen at least part of that at least once...please go rent it right now. Anyway, back to the song. This one starts out with more of a harmonized intro and then gets hardcore. Something that you may notice at this point is that they have the treble on the guitars set high and the bass lower; something that most metalcore bands don't do. It gives The Banner a more choppy and yet a smooth sound at the same time. It's nice to see a band that doesn't rely on completely low sounds to be hardcore. Aside from that, there's a slower part with some clean strumming, something that you will find totally unexpected. And then is followed by some more harmonizing. Another good song.
Now to another one of my personal favorites, Die Fighting
. It starts out with nothing but a gut-retching scream of "no one gets out alive, and I will be the last to die." Then it gets hardcore. If you are angry at anything, for any reason, then you should listen to this song. From start to finish, this song hardly lets up. The only part where it isn't pounding your eardrums is a small singing bit, but it blows right back into it and then ends with them chanting "die fighting," with a classic metalcore breakdown.
You may not notice when the song actually changes to Apocolypse
, because the drum beat at the end of Die Fighting
goes right into this one. You'll know when you hear the guitar; it's similar to the first track and then has some lead guitar over it. It obviously doesn't stay that way. This song isn't the best song on here, in my opinion, but the screaming toward the end is very powerful.
I Found Your Diary
is my favorite song on this album. Right from the intro it grab your attention. The treble-boosted lead plays the best opening riff on the entire album. This selection also has the greatest harmonizing breakdown as well. I haven't mentioned the lyrics on any of these songs, but I love the lyrics for this one. Not that the others are bad in any way, I just happened not to mention them. In fact, most of the songs on here have great lyrics too.
Black Duct Tape
is another one of the just okay songs on this album. It's another fast-paced hardcore bit, but something about it just doesn't do it for me. The chords are good and everything, it's just the progression of the song that I don't like as much.
is the only song that they have on the website (from this album). I think it was a good choice for it too. It's not the best or the worst song on the album. There's a lot more transitions in this song than the others, I think. Most of the song is pretty similar to the some of the others, but it would give you an idea how The Banner would sound. It pounds all the way through it and ends abruptly. Decent song.
One of the harder, heavier songs - Night Of The Rope
. At no point does this song slow down for anything. Not only is the music extremely heavy for most of it, Joey's screaming is very deep and powerful. He also barely stops to take a breath through the entire song. I can kind of compare this is Black Duct Tape
, but it's just like a way better version of it. Very good song.
You'll notice that this song is over 17 minutes long, but that is just because there is a large silent space between September Song
and the hidden track that follows. This is the only song that has a slow, quiet, clean intro. I also find this to be the most heartfelt song on the album. But it gets just as hardcore as the last song after the intro. But when I say heartfelt, I don't mean like whiney, emo heartfelt. The song is about a guy dying alone. There's also a part where everything stops and he just screams, very nice. This song manages to put out a sad feel, but still mantain the hardcore urgency that they've had the whole album. After 4 and a half minutes of soul-tearing hardcore it slowly fades out.
I find this untitled track to be incredibly annoying. At least the intro. The guitars sound like a power drill turning on and off. After a while you can hear Joey screaming in the background, fading in and out. I was listening to it once when I was half awake and I can tell you that it does some weird crap to your head when you're in that state. After 3 minutes of that drill-like noise, it finally becomes what you might call a song. There really isn't that much special about it, but I guess it's worth one listen.
And that closes out the cd. Besides the theme of the music, you will also find that the album cover sets a theme too. It's all covered in blood and with files and pictures that look like evidence files from a police department. All the lyrics are poorly handwritten or have a typewriter style font on brown sheets of paper, also covered with blood. If you want a good hardcore cd that isn't really like anything I've ever heard, then order a copy of Your Murder Mixtape
. Here is the website link: [url]http://www.blackoutrecords.com/releasedetail.asp"id=48[/url]
I Found Your Diary
"They're coming to get you Barbara..."