Review: Comeback Kid – Die Knowing

1000x1000Comeback Kid’s fifth studio effort finds the Winnipeg band continuing to hone their feisty, in-your-face hardcore sound. The introductory title track sets the tone with some angsty palm-muted riffing before blowing up into a huge chorus, with vocalist Andrew Neufeld chanting so aggressively, it’s actually a bit intimidating. The handful of tracks that follow are simple, straightforward, and entirely bullshit-free – this is music that was clearly written with a live setting in mind. While Comeback Kid break no new ground with these songs, they do successfully deliver a visceral listening experience that gets the heart pumping a bit faster. When “Wasted Arrows” arrives at its climax, the result is incredible – this is a song that’s going to get pits moving and limbs flailing (or in my case, cowardly writers throwing down in the safety of their own home).

While the initial tracks stick to what is tried and true, the album’s latter half sees the band branching out considerably, reaching for something more than sheer sonic assault. “Beyond” features tuneful gang vocals that would feel at home on a Gallows record, as well as some NOFX-esque bass riffing. The band’s soulful melodic sensibilities come through very nicely throughout “Unconditional” and the adjacent “Didn’t Even Mind”, which showcase what is arguably Comeback Kid’s biggest musical asset: the range and versatility of Neufeld’s vocals. His distinctive brand of “scream-singing” never ceases to impress, and fits perfectly with the more subtle guitar textures that permeate these songs. Throughout the melodic passages, the band begin to enter territory that feels remarkably close to what you’d hear from Sights and Sounds, Neufeld’s side project (see 2009′s Monolith). I hope to hear the band incorporate this style into their music even more on future releases, especially seeing as they’re capable of doing so without having it feel shoehorned in.

With Die Knowing, the group have offered up a pithy album that stays true to their core sound, while also featuring enough diversity to maintain interest from start to finish. If you’re fond of Comeback Kid, Sights and Sounds, or the hardcore genre to any extent whatsoever, this album is definitely deserving of your attention.

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