1. Choke 2. Love In Violet 3. Sadness Rains 4. Hissing Tongue 5. Pray2019 Innerstrength Records
Charlotte, North Carolina's Violent Life Violent Death have, with their first two EPs, solidified themselves as one of the most promising up and coming hardcore bands out there. They have no qualms about wearing their influences on their sleeves; everything from the Zao-esque demonic screams to crushing riffs ala-Ringworm is clear and present. Yet as they fully embrace these sounds, the five-piece has been able to corral them into their own blend, creating a relatively fresh take on the genre. Sadness Rains, the group's third EP in as many years, continues Violent Life Violent Death's evolution. Opening track "Choke" sits somewhere between Zao's earlier minimalist sound and their more recent technical work, and it's not just vocalist Scott Cowan's layered howls and monotone spoken word. The song bounces from jagged wobbly grooves to a mid-tempo, melodic chorus section that bridges the gap their predecessors had left. From there, everything seems to change. The EP picks up the pace as "Love In Violet" moves in a more metallic hardcore direction. Hints of Integrity and All Out War surface as the group focuses more on stomping chuggy riffs. The track floats along its two-stepping mid-track groove, sandwiched between its faster, more melodic beginning and ending sections. The rest of Sadness Rains continues in this more straightforward direction, leaving "Choke" an outlier in the batch of songs. The title track and "Hissing Tongue" are both built upon strong songwriting, featuring somewhat cliché breakdowns in their final moments, while closer "Pray" focuses more on their noisy, more angular side. It's not that there is anything particularly wrong with it, but the remainder of the album is somewhat of a letdown after the strength and ferocity of its more ambitious opening track. Bottom Line: The majority of Sadness Rains is top-of-the-line metallic hardcore, and certainly holds its own in the grand scheme of the genre, but Violent Life Violent Death have more to offer than what they've given us; it's proven right in the opening moments of the album. In the shadow of "Choke," Sadness Reigns is good, but now I'm expecting more.
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