Posts Tagged ‘Melodic hardcore’

I shot these videos at the East Brunswick Club. They feature Defeater from Boston and Miles Away from Perth (who were headlining the show strangely enough). Both bands play melodic hardcore and are in absolutely top form here. The quality is far from perfect admittedly.

Defeater. It's in black and white is so you know it's srs bsns.

Empty Glass is from Defeater’s latest album Empty Days & Sleepless Nights, which is an absolutely killer piece of hardcore, check it out if you haven’t already. Prophet In Plain Clothes is one of the best tracks from their debut, Travels. Anywhere is from Miles Away’s latest album, 2010’s Endless Roads


Band: Defeater
Album: Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
Label: Bridge Nine
Best songs: White Oak Doors, Headstone, Quiet The Longing
For fans of: Have Heart, Verse, new Carpathian
Rating: 8.5/10

Album art

Massachusetts melodic hardcore band Defeater are back with their second album, and it’s a big step up from their first. It reminds me of the change Have Heart made from their first full length to their second – more mature, more melodic, slower tempos but no less ferocious in intent. It is a change that was preempted by the lone acoustic track on their debut, and the slower droning tracks on their recent EP, Lost Ground. There are even riffs and leads on this Empty Days that wouldn’t be out of place on a post-hardcore record, although the relentless bleakness and Derek Archambault’s gravel throated vocals remind you that this is definitely hardcore.

Defeater have given us a double album, split into Empty Days, the heavier, more traditional songs, and Sleepless Nights, the acoustic numbers. The album is also written to a concept, namely a post-WWII tale, tracking the woes of a pair of brothers raised in hard times. The storyline runs on from their debut album, Travels, which followed the youngest brother, with Empty Days following the elder brother in his parallel journey.

Frontman David Archambault live

The acoustic tracks are amazing. The best way to describe them is a cross between the morose simplicity of Brand New and the brutal honest of early Against Me!. The subject matter includes broken homes, break-ups and the death of a loved one. The lyrics may be woven into a storyline, but Archambault doesn’t sound like he’s acting, and the songs are confrontingly personal to listen to. Releasing acoustic songs on a hardcore album is pretty left of field, and easily could have come off as overly sappy or out-of-place, yet they fit right it, with the storyline and overwhelming bleakness tying them in with the heavier songs. Archambault is quite a talent, holding a convincing ballad as well as belting out more traditional hardcore vocals, and the acoustic songs really bring his amazing storytelling and lyrics to the fore.

The musicianship is flawless, with tight, energetic drumming and searing, melancholy guitars running throughout the release. The riffs are in-your-face at times, yet it’s clear the star of this album is melody, with the album slowing down to minimalist dirges frequently, overlaid with dark melodies, before coming back with another huge riff. The album is backed by guitarist Jay Maas’ production, which is raw yet relatively clear. I’ve heard better produced albums before, at times the guitar layers could have been given more definition. That said, the production is completely appropriate for the content, it’s not like melodic hardcore needs to be pro-tooled to death.

If there’s any downside to the album, it’s that there are few standout moments. It’s more something to put on in the background, and let the darkness wash over you, almost like a Isis record in this respect, you won’t find yourself repeating a certain song over and over because most of the songs contain the same elements. A possible exception is the acoustic side, because each song is written to a clear personal tale, one or more of which you may connect with, but still, the acoustic songs, lyrics aside, are quite similiar to one another also.

Defeater have created a rock solid hardcore album with this release, and made big steps from their already impressive earlier releases. This is a band to watch, on their second album they have created an enduring piece of work, with amazing melodies, personal, affecting lyrics and a strong sense of passion and desperation running throughout. The acoustic side creates a point of difference and mixes surprisingly well with the heavier songs. If you like thinking man’s melodic hardcore with a cohesive sound and concept, check out Defeater’s latest work, you won’t be disappointed.

1. Warm Blood Rush
2. Dear Father
3. Waves Crash, Clouds Roll
4. Empty Glass
5. No Kind Of Home
6. White Knuckles
7. Cemetery Walls
8. Quiet the Longing
9. At Peace
10. White Oak Doors
11. But Breathing
12. Brothers
13. I Don’t Mind
14. Headstone

Melbourne’s Hopeless are one of the finest proponents of melodic hardcore on the Australian scene at the moment. The band are busy writing their second full length, which follows the recent release of the Human 7″. Lead guitarist Tim Carter spoke to me about how the new album is progressing, his favourite hardcore bands and most importantly, Skan’s porn.

Hopeless. Tim is on the far left.

Name three bands in hardcore that are killing it at the moment?

Does it have to be Australian? If it does, then Phantoms, Distant Wreck and Colossus. If it doesn’t, I really like Foundation, Dead End Path and Fire & Ice.

What made you want to pick up your instrument?

My dad is a seasoned veteran of gigging so music and musicians have been around me my whole life.

The Human 7” sounds more aggressive than your debut LP. Was this a deliberate change? How has the band’s sound evolved throughout your career?

I think the change was completely natural. It’s just really a progression from what we were writing on Dear World and shows our influences changing with the ever changing music world. I don’t think the band’s sound has changed too drastically and the new record will be another step in that direction.

Tim in the studio

You will be playing Pushover soon, complete with a big line-up of hardcore, as always. Which band are you hanging out to see the most?

I personally can’t wait to see our friends Break Even. It’s been a while and after a couple of European tours and a new guitarist I’ll be interested to see how they’ve changed and how far they’ve come.

You asked fans on Facebook to suggest songs for your Push Over set list. What came out of that, have you added any songs to the set via popular demand?

We might play Sleepwalkers or Young Wolves, which we rarely play live.

Will you be playing songs from your upcoming album at live shows?

We will definitely be playing a new track titled “Black Coffee Blues” at our upcoming shows.

Hopeless recently donated the profits of a Noise Bar show to the Queensland flood victims. With cyclones, earthquakes, floods, mindless political bickering, global unrest, what’s your take, is the world going to shit?

Yes, from the second humans stepped on it. It was just a matter of time really.

Skan playing with Carpathian

How do you think Skan (drums) or Tim (guitar) deal with pulling double duties when you play with Carpathian and Warbrain respectively? Playing one set alone is bloody exhausting.

Well I guess that’s me! I don’t really find it too exhausting to play in both bands one after another. The only thing that stresses me out is gear and its constant unreliability. Skan on the other hand is probably a lot more physically exhausted than anyone in either band so doing it twice in a row would suck I’d imagine.

In December you posted some grainy photos of the band writing for your second album on your blog. How are the songs turning out and how does it compare to previous Hopeless releases?

Graininess makes photos look more deep. The songs are coming along well, we are nearly done. It is different to the other Hopeless releases but at the same time it’s still a hardcore record and that’s something I don’t think anybody in the band wants to stray from.

Who are you recording the album with, and how close is it to release?

We have a lot of options that we’re considering at the moment to do with the album’s production and sound so nothing is concrete yet. You can expect it in the middle to later half of this year.

The Human 7" artwork

Adam Willet (Blackout) did the amazing artwork for the Human 7” and Dear World, will he be returning to do artwork for your new album?

At this stage artwork hasn’t even come up yet.

Which member of Hopeless is the biggest hit with the ladies on tour?

It’s obviously Skan. Haven’t you seen his porn?

I’ve had a promoter say to me that turnouts for hardcore shows in Melbourne have been quiet recently. Would you agree with this?

Yes and no, hardcore as a scene has and always will have good and bad times so a couple of quiet shows doesn’t necessarily mean cause for alarm. Turnouts fluctuate on a number of variables and they just seem to keep stacking up as opposed to the times where everybody would just be at every show no matter what.

Hopeless live. And arty.

Do any members of Hopeless have any formal musical training? Do you value that or think it’s important for a musician?

None of us have any formal musical training. I’m sure it’s important in some parts of music but we play hardcore punk and it has never been a part of the punk ethic. In saying that musicianship has evolved over time in this genre but it’s still all raw compared to other styles of music.

Is there a national (or international) tour on the cards soon?

There are a couple of exciting things coming up in both categories.

Melbourne institution The Arthouse will be closing in May, as you’ve no doubt heard. Will you be catching any shows there before they shut their doors?

I will not miss Mindsnare at the Arthouse one last time that’s for sure.

Unusual question, but have you read any good books lately?

My girlfriend read me a page out of Snooki from the Jersey Shore’s book the other night. It was riveting to say the least.

What is the most out-there experimental band you listen to, and what is the lamest and most questionable band or artist you listen to?

I really like Jacob Bannon’s side project Supermachiner, they’re pretty experimental. I also have a Katy Perry tattoo so there’s the contrast you’re looking for.

Any parting words?

Shouts to Young Wolves crew, check out the Colossus demo (sick new Melbourne band) and straight edge for 10 years next year. Word.

– Hopeless on Myspace
– Hopeless on Tumblr (Great blog, check it out)