Ah, nostalgia. You can't escape it. The band Inclination seems to be acutely aware of this fact, as their name and aesthetic should immediately bring to mind one very specific era of hardcore — at least to those of us who worship the 90s or experienced them firsthand. It would seem the only thing missing from Unaltered Perspective's cover art is a Victory or Revelation Records logo, but Pure Noise is the label that actually handled this release and such comparisons are unnecessary beyond displaying a stylistic similarity with the classics of the genre. That being said, whether or not this record can ‘hang with the big boys’ could be a matter of personal preference more than canonical acceptance.
If the connection to Knocked Loose via guitarist Isaac Hale is your entry point to this outfit, you probably won't be surprised by the fretboard knowledge that is thoroughly displayed on each track — even the unfortunately short-lived "Segue." Between Hale and fellow six-stringer Caleb Murphy, there's certainly enough technique to satisfy the average guitar nerd (at least within the scope of hardcore/metalcore).
However, their near-constant flourishes and change-ups can come off as slightly awkward and even tonally incongruent with the band's classic presentation. None of the guitar work is so brazenly flashy as to be a deal-breaker, but a few ‘look what I can do’ moments do pop up from time to time; for example the Slayer harmonies about a minute in to "Bystander" and whatever that glitchy transition is in "Marooned" — both are particularly cheeky and superfluous. We get a fantastic Machine Head callback at the end of "Without a Word," but Inclination refuses to bestow upon us more than a paltry few repetitions of their best ideas.
Considering the importance of lyrics and vocals in the overwhelming majority of hardcore music (specifically the straight-edge variety), vocalist Tyler Short's delivery just isn't quite strong enough to carry the songs all the way to the finish line. His singing is indeed serviceable, and the conviction with which he spits out his lines is palpable throughout the album, but there is a noticeable lack of anthemic hooks on Unaltered Perspectives that makes some of the less distinct tracks blur together even more than they might otherwise.
There are some attempts to remedy this — various backing vocals, guest spots from notables like Indecision’s Tom Sheehan and Magnitude’s Russell Bussey, and even spoken word sections (which are all to be expected as staples of the genre) — but neither those nor the lone clean chorus in "A Decision" really make enough of an impact to elevate the songs to banger status. One clear exception can be found in the ending breakdown of "Predetermined," although the brevity of this section makes it feel like more of a letdown.
Production snobs fear not, Unaltered Perspective was recorded by none other than Andy Nelson (formerly of Weekend Nachos, but his resume as a producer stands on its own). The mix is bright and clear but retains enough grit to sound genuine. The mastering is huge but never caves to the pressures of the dreaded ‘loudness war.’ This LP just plain sounds great, which by itself may increase its replay-value despite the relatively minor songwriting flaws.
Bottomline: Unaltered Perspective is a solid record with no shortage of taut riffage, but the band's vocal approach and technical interjections could use some refinement. Perhaps if Inclination had leaned more heavily on the older metallic hardcore tonality like that found in "Thoughts and Prayers" and the final track "Commitment to Self," or even included a few more ‘point at the stage and sing along’ vocal lines (to paraphrase Finn McKenty), this could have been an excellent album. As it stands, it is simply a satisfactory release from clearly talented and passionate musicians.
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poser shit. every sound/aesthetic done about 20 years ago. covering this try hard malarky just makes you more evident as hacks
Record is a lot less cheesy than some of the other hardcore LP's that have come out this year. I dig it.
Dude below wears a homemade cromags cutoff and lives in his moms house in mid 30s.
Straight edge singers preaching and acting like they are smart and political is always lol
inclination is better than Knocked Loose. The signer for KL sounds like a 14 year old kid going through puberty.
"Considering the importance of lyrics and vocals in the overwhelming majority of hardcore music (specifically the straight-edge variety)" How important is to say we dont do drugs?...every edge band for 30 years and said the same exact shit.
Solid album. No, it isn't a brand new original sound, but it is great to have a well executed new hardcore record that successfully pays homage to those that came before. This record feels like a well balanced cross over between the Bloodlust Revenge and God Loves,Man Kills eras of One King Down. Have been blasting on repeat.