01. Still Burning
02. Hanging From The Family Tree
03. Front Toward Enemy
05. The Product Is You
06. No Purity
07. Hard Truths Cut Both Ways
08. Sell Your Cause
09. Fact Or Fiction
2017 Closed Casket Activities
Wow, what the hell just happened? I feel like something just caved my skull in, a victim of bludgeoning from a blunt object. Like, seriously, did anybody just catch the license plate of the Mack truck that just ran over my face? I think it was 10 letters and read something like this: I-N-C-E-N-D-I-A-R-Y.
Thank you Closed Casket Activities and Incendiary for unleashing Thousand Mile Stare upon this decrepit, shithole of a world. The sparse cover artwork embodies the bleak hopelessness and stifled rage that courses through this violent album and through many peoples' lives during our year of the lord 2017. Welcome to the gospel of Incendiary, where they call a spade a spade and lay bare the architecture of our withering society, a band that is as gritty as New York hardcore has ever been. Though not as heavy or dark as erstwhile label mates Xibalba or Nails, Incendiary tread a similar path.
Thousand Mile Stare will most likely go down as one of my favorite hardcore records of the year, unless something absolutely monstrous comes out of left field and blows me away. This album is packed to the brim with incisive lyrics like "...connect the past to a present you hate, you just shut your fucking head and walk away" from "Still Burning," the album opener. You just want to grab a TV remote or your phone and pretend it's a mic. Lyrics don't usually stick with me like they do with Incendiary, especially being bellowed out in a style reminiscent of Zach de la Rocha; you can't help but feel an Inside Out/Rage Against The Machine vibe.
Almost every single track starts with a memorable hook, with my favorite intros being a toss-up between "Hanging From the Family Tree" or "The Product is You." Most of the music is crushing, mid-tempo hardcore that builds up tension as it moves along, giving the clear sounding vocals a platform to present socially aware, thoughtful messages. Thousand Mile Stare was four years in the making and it certainly feels like it by the tightness and well thought-out song writing. The album also flows together nicely as one piece, with each song complementing the other and making its presence feel crucial to the overall impact of the album.
The guitars are robust and crunchy, nicely distorted and yet pristine enough to make out all the details. The rhythm section isn't as pronounced as some other hardcore, beatdown or tough guy records -- it doesn't have a booming bass tone, but this is in no way a bad thing. I particularly enjoy the cymbal and hi-hat sounds, aspects of the drums I don't usually don't pay much attention to (so any drummers out there should find that a treat). It's rather uncommon to receive a poorly produced recording these days, but this one in particular is very clear yet still maintains the grit necessary to sound like a threat.
Coming from New York and being a hardcore band seems to come with some expectations of sound, style and image. Incendiary don't stray too far from these comfort zones, and they certainly do pay homage to New York hardcore of the past. The band bio lists Vision of Disorder, Snapcase and Earth Crisis as minor influences and their molecules can indeed be found amidst Incendiary's genetic make-up, however, the boys behind Thousand Mile Stare have managed to modernize the overall tone and atmosphere, updating hardcore for 2017.
Bottom Line: Incendiary is intelligent, serious and determined music that any fan of New York styled hardcore should gobble up. This album is intense and aggressive but almost has this really chill, laid back tone at times under the raging vocals; the contrast is so dynamic you can't help but notice it. Thousand Mile Stare has the power to re-inspire even the most jaded fan, igniting inner flames long ago extinguished and reminding us that, "If you don't know what the product is, the product is you."
tl;dr - I want to f*ck the band.