Review Summary: As heavy as regret.
Therapy? is one of those bands who managed to define their sound from early on in their career. Small missteps occurred along the way, yet each record remained anchored in a recognizable and ultimately trademarked sound. Lately, the Northern Irish trio returned to the concise, punk rock oriented material that harkens to their ‘90s era. Cleave
packed a punch, blending powerful riffs with melodic choruses without overstaying its welcome. Hard Cold Fire
follows in its footsteps, offering a half hour of discontent you can headbang and sing along to. Andy Cairns successfully sprinkled his cynicism and pessimism regarding the political, social and environmental issues over these tunes as well. Some of them hit harder, such as the swinging groove of “Bewildered Herd” or the pounding “To Disappear”. Both share busy drumming, especially the latter where they easily became the driving force. Other highlights include the gritty opener “They Shoot the Terrible Master”, plus the high octane, catchy “Woe”, where Cairns’ melodies nicely contrast the sharp guitars and distorted bass lines. None of them break any new ground for the act, however, they are really tight songs overall. “Poundland of Hope and Glory” enters the same category with its smooth low end bass and glorious power chords. What further helps these ditties is the clear yet powerful production. The instruments sound as if they play together in a room, whereas on Cleave
there were disjointed moments and weird mixing. Thankfully, Hard Cold Fire
is another successful entry in the Therapy? catalog. Thirty four years into their career, this is quite an accomplishment.