Review: Rage Fest in Minor

Today i’ll be reviewing a great album put out by a local (if you live in the Boston/ Derry NH areas) ska-core band. for those of you that don’t know, ska-core combines the upbeaty energy of ska with the hard-and-fast moshing feel of hardcore music. the intensity of the music varies depending on the band and its unique blend of ska, pure punk, and hardcore.

Harmonic, hungarian, melodic...

This album is the product of Silent Distortion, an excellent high-school ska-core band that i hope to play with in the future. the album opens with “It’s No Use”, a great song featuring innovative horn lines and intense lyrics about self-deception and self-control. The tenor sax and trumpet really go hand in hand in this song, using either octaves or 10ths to blend together lightning fast licks that are expertly played. “Blackout” boasts amazing lyrics as well, and features a core-esque chorus that is always getting stuck in my head. “El Nino” starts out with an amazing chord (for you theory junkies like me, the tenor is playing the 2nd and the trumpet the 10th of the minor i chord…he he he), and the horn lines and untouchable drum fills makes this one of my favorites. “Deja Vu” has more great horn lines and a great chorus. The intro to “Panic” always makes me laugh a little, which is exactly why i love it, and the b2 chords help to give it a more metally feel; the horn lines create a great image of panic. The album ends with “Heart Attack”, a truly masterful song which begins with a heart-rate-monitor cadence and ends in complete and utter chaos with a huge build and the sound of a guy flatlining – make sure you listen to this song all the way through!

The two guitarists (Ryan and Greason) are constantly covering for each other, one playing solo lines or horn doubles while the other plays chords and vice versa, yet when the two play together it’s almost impossible to tell there are two of them. the bass player (Ahren) belts out almost walking-style quarter note basslines on verses (see “Blackout”) and tight core-style lines on choruses. the drummer (Greg) is absolutely spot on, using fills that are so freaking fast that any other drummer would cringe (i swear they’re like 32nd notes) and seamlessly switching into breakdowns and core fills – not to mention that his screams are absolutely unparalleled (check out the chorus of “Blackout”). The singer (Kyle)  feeds dynamite lyrics through screams and an almost spoken-word style, and his trumpet skills make me envious that i don’t play a brass instrument. The tenor sax player ( Nelson) is constantly weaving in and out of harmony and unison, providing backup lines and interludes that are stellar (“El Nino” is probably the best example of both the horn players’ skills…and i apologize for the lack of an ‘enye’ : ] ).

Cons? not too many, in my opinion. there are a few (and i mean a very few) moments when tempo and meter get a little…murky. but compared to earlier EPs that i’ve heard, this is nothing. moreover, it’s something that’s practically unavoidable in a band, especially when you’re switching feels left and right. sometimes it’s hard to understand the vocals (again, i’ll reference the ‘screaming’ in “Blackout”, which is actually whole stanzas), but you could say that it sort of adds to the effect; regardless, look them up on their myspace. oh, and this album doesn’t have their bari sax player (Eric) on it – got to take care of my fellow bari brethren – which is another great reason to go see them play. quite honestly though, i think the only real problem is that i always finish the album and wish that there were more songs. give me more songs : (

hopefully i’ll have another review up soon…check these guys out! they’ve got a myspace and play gigs all around north shore MA and southern NH. thanks for listening!

-Dean

(p.s. does anyone else LOVE that the album work includes Gregorian neume notation?)

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One Response to “Review: Rage Fest in Minor”

  1. the first Jazz-core band! bwahaha. Nice review bro.

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