Baptists
Beacon of Faith


2.5
average

Review

by Claire Q. CONTRIBUTOR (53 Reviews)
May 29th, 2018 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Industrial sledgehammer manufacturing

I was disgruntled when I realized that the easiest way to situate Baptists’ music was to draw lazy comparisons towards Converge. Doing so would instantly subordinate Baptists, mark them as a mere archetype of “pummelling hardcore”. I don’t wish to dismiss Baptists’ lamentations on the devaluing of truth and their sense of injustice (informed by frontman Andrew Drury’s experiences in social work). I also don’t wish to deny the potency of Nick Yacyshyn’s agile drumming -- there’s a curiously noble restraint with which it delivers punches, a nuance that is mostly absent from Beacon of Faith as a whole. The reply to that might be “But there is an appropriate amount of nuance! Not every song follows the same fast-paced formula, the slow, sludgy tracks are satisfyingly brooding.” But I can’t bring myself to think that Beacon of Faith has enough nuance, or unpredictability, or even enough progression from Bloodmines to convince me that Baptists are a distinct entity, rather than an archetype.

Baptists play their two modes well: the first, a blistering fury, grounded in the pain of a caged man thrashing against the bars -- not with escape in mind, but the drive to save a stranger being tortured in front of his eyes (with whatever violence that may entail). The second turns that fury inward, directs it toward the self; resignation seeps through after the implosion. But having only two modes leads to songs, of the same grouping, battling it out for recognition in my memory -- for the first one, the title track and “Vicarious Trauma” won out on account of their sheer viciousness. This was a problem that also plagued Baptists’ last album, Bloodmines; interestingly, Beacon of Faith even shares Bloodmines’ placement of the distinctively slower tracks at around the 1/3 and 3/4 marks of the record.

This leads me to the point about unpredictability, or lack thereof. Here I will make a more specific comparison to Converge in order to outline what Beacon of Faith lacks: while Converge never seemed to tread the same path twice, nor walked two paths the same way, Beacon of Faith seems content to dig into the same ground for much of a song. (“Indigo Child” is an exception, if only because it’s unique for employing both modes within the same song.) This straightforward style was likely designed to repeatedly beat one down into submission, but here there’s a law of diminishing effects when it comes to repetition. If individual songs were made redundant, individual passages are also subject to the same criticism.

In the end I’m left feeling a bit guilty because Beacon of Faith is so sincere in its convictions. The mixture of blunt condemnations and abstract musings, delivered by Andrew Drury’s snarl, paints a sympathetic picture of anger, indeed rage, as a righteous force. It’s a message that I’m receptive to, at least during the first few times that it’s shouted at me. But when Beacon of Faith eventually tries to knock down my door to deliver its message, I’m only wishing that the door holds up.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
KingDweedle
May 28th 2018


392 Comments


I'm a little confused at some of the criticisms. What even is "noble drumming"?

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2018


11587 Comments


Nicely written Claire. Not huge on Converge, much less interested in hearing an average aping archetype.

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Astral Abortis
May 28th 2018


6736 Comments


I imagine they'd be using the word "noble" to denote a meaning that the drumming is of excellent quality.

Words have many meanings, it seems.

Astral Abortis
May 28th 2018


6736 Comments


Very well-written review, though perhaps a little one-note. I have no interest in listening to this record.

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2018


818 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

honestly I didn't really have a whole lot to say about this, so I probably went off on the same points

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Astral Abortis
May 28th 2018


6736 Comments


Well, no, but describing pizza as noble wouldn't really be applicable as it is here, in a review that is somewhat praising the band's conviction, but disparaging the fact that that same conviction could be contributing to its more lacklustre qualities (at least, that's how I'm reading it).

The word "noble" when describing the quality of the drumwork here can thereby fit into a neat conceptual description that both confirms the quality, whilst not looking out of place with the tone and ideas put forth in the rest of the review.

Pizza has no relation, thus a different word would probably be used when critiquing one. Perhaps "oil-alicious", would suffice.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


40734 Comments


it's a perfectly cromulent descriptor

KingDweedle
May 29th 2018


392 Comments


I wouldn't describe something of quality as being "noble", I think that could be attributed to the imagery it brings- nobility, someone being well-mannered, etc. Perhaps this is a matter of personal choice- people all have their own language of sorts.

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2018


818 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

ah, that's exactly the connotation I was going for

Astral Abortis
May 29th 2018


6736 Comments


Okay, again, words have multiple meanings, and different words can work in different contexts. You're being very short-sighted in looking at the word noble as having only one definition, as well as thinking of it like the noun.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2018


2293 Comments


dedes get out of here ya nonce

Dewinged
May 29th 2018


12080 Comments


" It’s a message that I’m receptive to, at least during the first few times that it’s shouted at me. But when Beacon of Faith eventually tries to knock down my door to deliver its message, I’m only wishing that the door holds up."

Loved this Claire, great read.

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SowingSeason
Moderator
May 29th 2018


28373 Comments


Great read as always.

Digging: Julia Holter - Aviary

botb
May 29th 2018


11996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is way more memorable than bloodmines tbh, not even a contest

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2018


24368 Comments


Haven't listened to these guys since Bushcraft, but I love that record. This doesn't exactly sound promising, so I'll approach with caution.

Very good review overall, but some parts read a bit clunky (the added parenthesis thoughts in the first and second paragraphs), and maybe you use the word "mode" a bit too much in the second para as well. Other than that, top-notch as per usual.

Digging: Deceased - Ghostly White

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2018


818 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, and I see what you mean Spirit - I've tried to smoothen some parts out.

botb
May 29th 2018


11996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@spirit, if you liked bushcraft you’ll love this. It’s very full of experimentation as that record was while maintaining its crust/hardcore roots

Nikkolae
May 29th 2018


5397 Comments


so I see a lot of people saying this is awesome, and other saying its just a converge rip off huh

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Formlessness [2016]

Taxt
May 29th 2018


1219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review

This record is good but I wish it was better

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2018


818 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

@nikkolae it's a classic case of "why would I listen to X when I could listen to Y

(who fills the same niche but does it better)"



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