Killing the Dream - Fractures
Record Label: Deathwish Inc
Release Date: June 10, 2008
After facing some big line-up changes (the main songwriter left the group) since their full length debut, 2005's In Place Apart, onlookers were worried about what would become of Killing the Dream, a promising hardcore quintet from California. The sweat can be quickly wiped from listeners' brows, as Fractures, the band's latest, is a step up from the group's already-impressive past material.
The album begins with "(Re)acquaintance," a short, somber guitar intro, before kicking into "Part II (Motel Art)." This opener is a standout track of blistering hardcore. It also features the album's only occurrence of gang vocals, a nice touch on such a high-energy track. Although I'm a fan of the device, it's nice to see them use it sparingly, thus making them really stand out. The album's title track follows, which shows the band's sense of melody, both in guitar work and some backing vocals. (Don't get mad, hardcore dudes. These brief, raw backing vocals are the only clean vocals on the album, and it adds some depth to the track.)
The passionate lyrics are often about lost love but come off as insightful instead of cliched. "Thirty Four Seconds" is a particularly angry track. Vocalist Elijah Horner drops more F-bombs than Christian Bale, but rather than sounding cheesy or contrived, you can really hear his anger. "You're All Welcome" is another ripper, this one featuring guest vocals from Ruiner's Rob Sullivan. At four and a half minutes, album closer "Resolution" is twice as long as most of the album's other short-and-sweet tracks and a fine way to end the release.
J. Robbins' limited production works to the band's advantage, further intensifying their raw energy. Horner's throaty vocals are the driving force behind the band. Aside from some intros and outros, there's rarely a moment without their presence. That's fine in my book, as his voice has a certain ferocious desperation to it. This is not to say that the musicianship isn't strong; the rest of the group -- guitarists DJ Rogers and Patrick Guild, bassist Christopher Chase, and drummer Isaac Frantini -- craft some great songs. The group's main inspiration seems to be 90's hardcore, though there are also some audible youth crew and metallic influences.
The tracks tend to blend together, but at 23 minutes, it's the perfect length before things get monotonous. Fractures is one of my favorite hardcore releases of 2008, and the band is shamefully underrated.