Kids Like Us - The Game
Record Label: Eulogy Records
Release Date: August 18, 2009
To be hardcore or not to be hardcore, that is the question. I think someone forgot to teach Kids Like Us that they had to choose one or the other, or more likely, they flicked off the teacher and chose not to listen.
Kids Like Us' The Game is the third release from this hardcore band from Florida. Where they showed a branch out from the norm by adding southern swagger on first two releases, this time around, they root their own tree. The fast paced brutality of hardcore gives way to a more sludge-metal sound and Lars' vocals are harshly reminiscent of the same. It sounds like they were listening to a good bit of Eyehategod while writing this album.
Fans of The 80's are Dead and Out of Control may find some surprises here, but what these surprises entail is growth and maturation minus the growing pains. The guitar work is one of the most obvious differences for the band. Tracks like "Black Box Warning" provide bluesy guitar work stretching beyond the offerings of their peers. Lars' vocals come out like spitfire and slurred growls of hatred all at the same time. The bass rattles the cage and the drums have a metallic sound that makes you think of recordings from St. Anger. Do not worry though, because this is still hardcore with all the right attitude and a few gang vocals to match. The best way to understand this album is by listening to the track "Culture Shock." This track offers hardcore goodness with the group vocals (though one must listen close) as well as spreading wings with the guitar work early on, in a track that is shoved in your face at a respectably quick time of 2:35. I do have to say that the production is a little weak though. That may be the main thing I could hold against this album because I want it to sound bigger than the production allows.
Overall, the sound is dirty, raw and full of rage. This band is mad, and where hardcore basics sometimes are emotional angst, the sound from these boys is downright angry. I do not know what has these guys so pissed off; maybe it is the silly scene kids with their painted on skinny jeans and terrible attempts at a circle pit or maybe it is the bands calling themselves hardcore while having more in common with Simple Plan. Whatever it is that brings on lines like "Do us a favor. Change or else jump off a building and kill yourself" and enough F-bombs to make Fred Durst lose count, it is fuel for a file that looks to be burning for a long time.
My favorite track on here I think is "Streets of Fire", but I could change my mind at any point with other stand outs like; "The Motorcycle Boy Returns," "Black Box Warning," "Culture Shock" and "The Game".
This very likely is the answer to the future of a genre on verge of drowning in a sound of mediocrity. Hardcore fans have a special diamond in the rough here, while people that have a hard time letting go and losing it can find enough elements outside the box to still get into The Game.