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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Face Reality- Strong Survive EP review

Face Reality- Strong Survive EP review
This is my absolute favorite current band out of Michigan right now.  This EP only solidified it- though not a complicated sound, the simplistic intensity is absolute, and the lyrical thoughtfulness is there, yet it is coupled with forceful rage and anger.  The vocals take a while to get used to (they are a departure from James’ old style of singing), but it winds up being better, as it’s a mix of classic 80s hardcore and youth crew- no longer naïve and young, it is now an informed, wrathful, but still not disillusioned sound.  The guitar is not too heavy, but manages to be powerful in a way that modernizes the youth crew sound.  It’s modern, but it’s not far removed from the sentiment the earliest hardcore bands had, and all this does is amplify and modernize it.  The bass is distinct, punchy and bounces along with the song- it is an instrument unto itself.  The drums, again, mix the punishing fast beats of early hardcore and the thundering breakdowns of youth crew and contemporary hardcore.  This isn’t just a well-oiled machine- this is the machine upon which all other machines are based.  That is how fucking great this band is.
“Answer the Call” starts off with a back-and-forth drum intro and wastes no time before kicking into the traditional punk rock riffage Face Reality is known for.  Just as the first set of riffs ends, the song comes in crash-landing, as the vocals roll in and the speed kicks way up.  Some lyric play the singer “Hear the ring, answer the call” is what sticks in my mind as the anchor of the song, and then the tempo slows for a pointed breakdown with higher-pitched vocals coming from a third party.  “Confusion” is an almost powerviolence-esque song as it starts, even faster than someone like Straight Ahead.  The anger resonating from the singer is almost palpable, as it transitions to “No Justice” the two songs almost go together.  The whole song is invective, dripping and frothing with venom, and for youth crew-sounding hardcore, it’s surprisingly heavy and brutal.
“Strong Survive”, though it is undoubtedly about the more personal encounters within the band (or rather, outside of the band), could also be interpreted as a Darwinistic slogan- one that I do agree with to a great extent.  This is probably the most bass-heavy one on the record, and still rings out some rather heavy riffs and memorable lyrics (though I will say that after hearing this a few times, it’s rather easy to learn the words, especially given how well it flows).  “It’s Us” is a second short, serene blast of sub-powerviolence youth crew-inspired hardcore.  Simple, but not unpleasing.  The last song “Feel Free” is the best track on the record.
A quick side note:  Though it’s cliché and a bit strange to say, this song has, in more than one situation, gotten me through hard times- it’s a continuing reminder that so long as I remain free (free by my definition, not someone else’s), I can keep carrying on- fighting, breathing, and annoying the rest of the world.  Life’s a fight, and this is a morale-raising anthem.
Anyways, the song starts out with a thundering, punching drum beat, the riffs jam out right after, and the singer lets out the most crucial line on the record, “Feel free, to think and see, feel free to be you, and I’ll be me!”  A traditional hardcore/youth crew breakdown transition builds up to the song, which is heavier hardcore not unlike a less depressing early-era Black Flag.  The song concludes with a punishing breakdown that abruptly stops with everything save for the hi-hat, then the guitar wails out and the singer eviscerates the words to the title of the song “Feel free!”  Then, the riffs and drums continue to crank out sound as the volume on the song slowly fades out.
I wasn’t lying when I said this is youth crew better than even founding fathers Youth of Today, and I stand by it, and add that Face Reality just cranked it up another notch.  Phenomenal.
-Aunty Social

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