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Cowards: Rise to Infamy

I last encountered Cowards with the reissue of the not-that-old album Shooting Blanks and Pills. The music is perhaps best described as hardcore meets noise meets sludge, though I prefer to call it extreme and anxious. The music here pushes as hard as possible to feel oppressive, as if the band members wanted to recreate all the pressures of modern life in 4-6 minute songs. There are times when, listening to this album, I feel the same intensity I feel when I'm stuck in traffic for hours on end. To be fair to the music, this is extreme stuff, a sound that is meant to challenge and punish and provoke. It works. In fact, this band consistently succeeds at creating sounds that are unrelenting and overwhelming.

I'm no stranger to extreme music, but there are reasons to stir audiences up and other reasons to let them settle down a bit, to prepare for the next attack. Cowards challenges those conventional rhythms by giving the music a consistent feeling of tension. The vocals play an especially strong role in this overall mood. They screech in ways that resemble the mechanical stress of slamming on the breaks, stopping so abruptly that death is only inches away.

Yeah, it's a good album, but it's not for everybody. It's emotionally raw and yet cold and distant, a commentary on things like shame, frustration, and humiliation. If you are one of those people who defy the world and say things like "Bring it," then this is perhaps just what you need.

Track Listing:
1. Shame Along Shame
2. Never to Shine
3. Frustration (Is My Girl)
4. Beyond My Hands
5. Birth of the Sadistic Son
6. Low Esteem
7. Anything But the Highroad
8. Wish for Infamy
9. Bend the Knee
10. So Easy

Added: March 25th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1521
Language: english

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