So I’m a week late and by now most of you, that were atleast intrigued by a new Strife record, has atleast read a review or two about the new album, Witness A Rebirth. In the short scan of the internet I’ve taken I haven’t read a single bad review about the album, which is probably the case with most of you. So for this review, I’m simply here to back up the hype that much more.

Witness A Rebirth couldn’t have been more appropriately titled. It’s been 11 years since the California fivesome graced our presence with a record and that was largely panned as a “terrible” record by the hardcore community. The record Angermeans was meant to serve as a more mature Strife record stepped far away from the much herald In This Defiance with its use of untraditional (to hardcore) instruments such as pianos and violins. The combination of the new musical approach along with their much documented “edge break”, lead to the overall end of the band.

Over the course of last 11 years, Strife has played a handful of reunions and eventually a full tours of the US, Japan, South America, and Europe. It seemed the band was having a lot of fun playing the old songs and just riding the wave for as long as it would last. Not many people were anticipating the announcement of a new record. Because the last thing we heard left a bitter taste in our mouths, I and many others, were left dreading an Angermeans Part II. As I stated in the opening paragraph, that didn’t happen. Instead what we have is an immediate return to the sound that made Strife a force in the late 90’s. The direct comparisons and even going as far as calling the album In This Defiance Part II, is absolutely justified. Stripped away is all the bullshit that made Angermeans not successful and in its place is the SoCal Punk/Sepultura worship style that made everyone want to level any venue they played. While I’m all for maturity and experimentation, that only applies to certain bands and certain styles. Sometimes keeping it cut and dry is a far better move than chancing ruining everything. I’m glad Strife realized this and just stuck with the basics.

The only critical aspect of the album I have is with the drumming. So far in the last two weeks since I’ve been listening to this record (and I’ve been listening to it a TON), I’ve gone back and forth what I feel about it. When seeing advertisements with “Drums by IGOR CAVALERA” as focal point, I kind of anticipated the band to let Igor be Igor and beat the piss out of the drums ala Arise or Beneath The Remains. Instead we get very few “Igor” moments through the record. On one hand, I wanted to hear Igor stand out but on the other hand, I guess the point was for him to remain from getting too flashy so that he wouldn’t steal the show from the rest of the record. In either circumstance, the drumming still fits the music seamlessly so the lack of Igor’s signature drumming style is something I’ll get over relatively quickly.

For those of you still on the fence about giving this record a chance, stop being an idiot. You are missing out on the record you’ve wanted Strife to release since 1997.