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Fall City Fall: Victus

When it comes to punk rock, particularly the kind we call "hardcore," I have very specific tastes and am very hard to please. Ever since High School, I've preferred the intensity and aggression of bands like Minor Threat, Insted, Underdog, Youth of Today, and a handful of other similar bands. Even though I like a strong variety of heavy music and heavy bands, I tend to identify hardcore specifically with the stuff from the early-to-mid 80s. I mention all this because Fall City Fall claims to be a significant new voice in the hardcore scene, one that may shake things up and bring us something powerful and different. When I hear such claims, I tend to bristle, expecting the worst. I don't want to hear more of the pop-infused and overproduced choruses and performances so popular in the wake of Green Day. I'm also very tired of the simple and silly challenges to the status quo that only serve to get audiences to plunk down more and more of their money. Anger, like sex, sells. Moreover, punk has a troubled relationship to authenticity, mostly because the scene itself is notoriously fickle, uncertain as to what is truly punk and what isn't. I like it, though, when bands at least try to be sincere about the music and the scene.

I don't want to suggest that Fall City Fall carries the torch for the future of punk. It would be better, I think, to say that these guys are a strong new voice on the scene, one that could legitimately bring new energy and interest to the hardcore scene. The thing I liked about these guys is that the music is typically more technical than the classic hardcore acts of the past. I don't think these guys are trying to woo critics with their stronger grasp of musical progressions and harmonies; instead, I think they are just sensitive to the changes in the scene since the 80s and are trying to keep abreast with them while simultaneously maintaining a sense of what makes punk rock tick. I was generally impressed. I was also interested in the twin vocal approach to the music, mostly because the differences in sound aren't all that big. Instead of falling prey to the temptation to alternate clean and dirty vocal styles, these guys mostly trade in the angry and the anxious in ways that are strong, relentless, anxious-making, and uncomfortable. Just listen to "Taken" for an example of the way the twin vocal styles create feelings of restlessness and discomfort. As an attempt at channeling real fear and worry, it works. I'm a little shaken after listening to a couple of the tracks on this album.

Some of the tracks are pretty great. "Shallow Believer," for example, is a strong and fast punk track, as is "Lovebirds" and the title track "Victus." Other tracks, like "St. James," and the aforementioned "Taken" rouse feelings of anxiety and worry in compelling but ultimately exhausting ways. I really liked the quieter moments on this album, particularly the instrumental track "Many Lives," which also serves as a build-up to "Shallow Believer." I don't think I'll listen to this album over and over again, but I was impressed enough to believe the claim that these guys are a legitimate new voice in the hardcore scene.

Track Listing:
1. St. James
2. Dissentipede
3. Anxiety Attack
4. Bitter to End
5. Lovebirds
6. Many Masters
7. Many Lives
8. Shallow Believer
9. Dead Saints
10. Taken
11. Victus

Added: December 29th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1623
Language: english

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