Review Summary: Bold's farewell to a world that didn't care and boy, they were pissed about that...
Bold were angry. Time and the hardcore scene had taken its toll on Porcelly and co. Having been members of Youth of Today, Judge and Project X, they had seen the straight-edge scene for what it was; fascistic and hypocritical. Looking Back
was Bold's answer. Fusing hard rock with hardcore and hindsight, it was an unapologetic, middle finger to a scene they detested.
The fusion of the two genres was evidently a right decision for Bold. The song-writing is far more rhythmic, forsaking the monochromatic rhythm section and monotone guitar work in favour of varied riffing, guitar soloing and colourful drum fills. The conventions of the straight-edge hardcore are still very much there such as the tempo-shifting and streamlined structures. However the use of guitar interludes; melodic hooks; basslines that are more than one note; and a drummer who understands pacing and uses all of the kit, makes them sound so much more interesting. The songs are dynamic but retain that trademark hardcore aggression. It is a near perfect fusion of rock and hardcore, not only technically but emotionally too.
greatest achievement is the fact that Bold's nearly unrestrained creativity painted their soundscapes with emotions uncommon to the nineties' straight-edge hardcore scene. The rock-infusion to the sound gives emotional gravitas to the hardcore spine and, more importantly, the variety of the instrumental work widens the spectrum of the emotions. The rage often associated with punk is tempered with the jaded, rock n'roll melodies and fired out more explosively from the rear-end of an acoustic interlude. The hooks of the melodies only serve to make the emotions much easier to empathise with. They manage to overcome the a-typical nineties hardcore production; clear yet flimsy with the vocals placed high in the mix.
Matt Warnke vocals consist of only two styles; an abrasive shout and soulful singing. However the two techniques intermingle and balance each other out. Whether he sings or shouts, he sounds as angry as he does world-weary. The lyrical rebuttals are made that much more sincere because of his voice. With it in in combination with the rest of the band, Looking Back's
meditative stance on the straight-edge lifestyle hits deeper and harder than any militant youth crew and their motor-mouth vocalist could ever achieve at the time. Their scars ran as deep as their feeling and, damn, they weren't afraid to show it.