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Music Reviews

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Castle Talk
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Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Break The Silence
Near Life Experience
Hopeless Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
It's fitting that Break The Silence hails from the Chicago, which basically splits the distance between Southern California and New York, two of the hottest spots for hardcore in the US. I say this because Break The Silence combines the best of New York and Southern California hardcore scenes. Break The Silence's first full length for Hopeless Records; Near Life Experience is an exercise in speed, brutality and amongst all of the fury, melody. Break The Silence have created a near perfect blend of blistering hardcore with punk sensibilities- think Sick of it All meets Death By Stereo meets Pennywise.

The collision of what have become two very different genres with shared roots is brought out primarily via vocalist Dan Wintercorn. Near Life Experience finds Wintercorn constantly flip-flopping between guttural, almost metal screams and a voice that could find a good home with any punk band. Meanwhile guitarists Mr. Precision and Brian Phee don't let up for a second throughout the entire album as they chug along in overdrive. Every song here seems to be a race to the finish, while Mike Ford and Jason Gronwick's rhythm section hum along in perfect sync. Break The Silence is technically tight; there is no doubt about that, and balance is their game. The key to Near Life Experience is the melding of a-melodic grinding hardcore with just enough of Wintercorn's melody and sung vocals to counter the screams and constant instrumental attack found through out the album.

"Six Foot Revolver" is a standout on Near Life Experience, bouncing back and forth from straight hardcore four-on-the-Death-By-Stereo-floor pounding to sensible punk rock bounce akin to Pennywise. Wintercorn's vocals do the same as he sings the verse while screaming the chorus. In "Iris" Wintercorn screams, "Destroying me now won't make you a man" - a pretty good sample of standard hardcore lyrical fare found throughout Near Life Experience.

Break The Silence really show off their technical abilities late in the album with an At The Gates cover of "Slaughter of the Soul," which is a wicked song to attempt a cover of. Fortunately they succeed in matching the fury and intensity of the original At The Gates recording, however, as is to be expected with a hardcore band covering a death metal band, Break The Silence's version of "Slaughter of the Soul" lacks the menace and brooding of an At The Gates. But again Wintercorn's screams make this song a gem on Near Life Experience, it is refreshing to hear a band take on such an ambitious cover and succeed.

Near Life Experience plays loud, hard and fast from front to back. Break The Silence has put together an impress collection of what is being labeled melodic hardcore. I found Near Life Experience to tend more toward hardcore than anything else. Dan Wintercorn's vocals keep the album interesting, making repeated listens enjoyable and Break The Silence stand out. Take notice, hopefully Break The Silence will be around for a while.

Reviewed by Craig Mertes
Craig lives, works and listens to music in the general vicinity of Orlando, Florida, where he absorbs everything from hip-hop to indie, pop, rock, punk and metal. His all time favs include Hum, Clutch, Dismemberment Plan, and the Reverend Horton Heat. The last we heard, Craig was spinning Vast Aire, Soul Position, Blues Explosion, Motörhead, the Blood Brothers and Dead Meadow. Craig is also a life-long, die-hard Cubs fan, so lay off.

See other reviews by Craig Mertes



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