Musically you kind of figure out what you are in for right from the jump as singer Tommy Loomis hurls his scream right at you just as the rest of the band kicks in the door guns blazing with speedy ferocity. A groove laden midsection followed by a chugalug breakdown. The formula, maybe in different order, is repeated for the remaining two tracks of the record. While it’s a bit cookie cutter at the core, it is certainly not without character. For starters, I appreciate that Loomis’ voice isn’t a deep growl and more of a bark that seems natural and fitting of his actual voice. Everyone wants to sound like a demon, he sounds like he’s legitimately pissed off at something. Where the band really shines is in those groove verses that I previously mentioned. Knowing guitarist Kurt Fowles, I’m aware of his love affair of the Deftones and he doesn’t bother trying to hide that influence in the slightest. That tuning and that California attitude are blended seamlessly into something akin to that thrashier hardcore that Hatebreed started all those years ago. I also appreciate the use of dissonance here and there in vain of Disembodied/Martyr AD. It’s not enough to be considered capitalizing on the hype from This Is Hardcore, which made them more welcomed the seldom times they are used.
While the music is enjoyable, I do have two major gripes with this release. First issue is the length of the release. Three songs would be fine if they were longer songs but 6 minutes is a single side of a 7”. The business model with music has seemed to steer away from the direction of releasing longer albums and more into the constant release of singles to stay fresh in the minds of the audience. It’s something that is definitely working in the EDM world because you want your stuff playing in every DJ’s festival mix but I don’t think that it translates into the metal/rock/hardcore worlds. I would have liked to have seen Garland Greene wait this one out, put together 2 more tracks, and deliver at least a full 7” worth of material. Just as you start to get into this record, it’s over. I wasn’t even out of my neighborhood before Tommy’s scream in the first track started came back on. The second issue I have is the mix on the first two tracks. During these two tracks, especially during the faster riffs, almost all of the drums minus the snare are lost within the guitars and the bass doesn’t stand out. They become a little clearer when the songs hit their groove parts and the breakdowns but anything else, it’s a bit of a cluttered mess. I had to even strain at times to hear the actual riffs over the muffled distortion. These issues seemed to completely right themselves on the last track and you finally get to hear that thumping rhythm section the way they should have throughout the entirety of the release. Garland Greene’s has enough groove that I should really feel the kick drum, hear the ride symbol tinking away, and get hooked by the crunch of the bassline. For 2/3 of the album, I don’t get any of that. If it’s a case of using two different engineers to record, they should definitely go back to the 2nd guy.
Unfortunately, I must admit that I’m not 100% hip to Garland Greene’s previous material. I’m the world’s worst person when it comes to paying attention to new bands. I’m becoming those old jaded fuckers that I hated when I was 10 years younger. However, these songs are enjoyable enough, despite the length and some wonky production, which I will be diving into their back catalog to see how these hold up. Redeem. Repent. Absolve is being released digitally on Fast Break Records but you can check them out at this year’s edition of the East Coast Tsunami Fest.
Label: Fastbreak Records
Site: Related Link
Similar: Dissent, Time Spent, Gloves Off
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