Review Summary: From the house Defeater built.
In the hardcore world a listener may find themselves often at odds with their taste, especially in this day and age. Like the music itself the whole hardcore scene in and of itself is fast moving. Bands come and go off the radar at an almost dime a dozen rate. In 2008 when Defeater released their debut Travels
to the collective gasp or monotone groan of the community, people had to understand that they were a band who could change the face of the genre. To compare anything at all to Defeater directly is folly however, as the band’s loyal (read: rabid) fan base will judge them at a standard that doesn’t even exist. After all what Defeater did with Travels
wasn’t anything Shipwreck weren’t doing an entire year
Manners aren’t trying to be Defeater and it also isn’t quite accurate to say they’re trying to sound like Defeater either. The influence is obvious though. You’ll also hear traces of other Bridge 9 fare such as Ruiner and Dead Swans. On “Hallows,” with the gang chant “I’m the epitome of human failure” it’s clear the band is bringing their very best to make you feel something akin to those hardcore giants. Melodic hardcore is, after all, all about the passion and feeling, and the crackling energy coming from a line like accompanied by a stellar breakdown really resonates.
The EP seems to be a loose concept album about a particularly desperate romance accompanied by suicide and eventual death and descent to hell, but it really takes a backseat to the excellent songwriting structure and general mood of the album. The musical side of Apparitions
is executed in top-notch fashion. All the songs are easily accessible and are definitely movers, with perfectly placed intros and outros usually accentuating some of the more daunting lyrics. Vocalist Chris Hague proves to be something of an international superhero of hardcore rookie, his lamenting wail of “Why me" I went to church every fu
cking Sunday” on “Solitary” being one of the album’s defining moments. His diction is great and he proves to be one of the group’s strongest assets.
For anyone who might have been disappointed by the lack of bring’n da mosh punch of Empty Days & Sleepless Nights
, Manners offer a suitable alternative in Apparitions
. It’s a fantastic release from what a band who are shaping up to be one of the most promising in hardcore. Apparitions
is a great follow up to last year’s Escapism
, managing to be all-around tighter, better produced, and more emotionally challenging. This will probably be one of the best hardcore releases period of the year, so now’s a good time to jump in.