Review: Bayside – Cult

bayside

“I’m short on time but here’s my intention / To raise my voice and get your attention / And make a sound that makes me proud.” – “Time Has Come”

Bayside has been an underdog staple to the punk scene for over a decade. They’ve overcome more obstacles than most bands ever encounter, but have always pulled away from it all the stronger. Their sixth album, Cult is a powerhouse of punk that favors their trademark dark melodies and incredibly powerful lyrics.

While Cult doesn’t attempt to trace any new territory for the band, it’s a love letter to anyone who has stood by them throughout their career by showing them at their best. It’s explosive, surprisingly poppy, and delivers some of the best lyricism to come from Anthony Raneri.

The guitars chug away in the harsh tones that give the band’s dark melodic style that they’re known for. Small guitar solos fill the album, as the lead guitar meshes perfectly atop of the rough chords during the choruses (“You’re No Match”) or directly in your face (“Time Has Come”). Although the direct guitar solos tend to be in almost every song, they never feel out of place or unnecessary. Stylistically, it resembled the sound of Killing Time more than any of their other records, but that isn’t a bad thing at all.

Anthony Raneri’s vocals retain their signature pitch, which sounds like a slightly more refined version of Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. He teases the listener with hints of growls and occasionally nears the extremely high pitches from fan favourite “Devotion and Desire”. His voice tends to be hypnotic as it bounces in an odd near-monotonous flow that keeps you attached.

Naturally, the lyrics tend to be darker than most punk bands of the genre. In “Stuttering”, Raneri addresses the issue head on, as he sings “Cuz I’m the voice of the depressed / And that’s what everyone expects / Give the people what they want and it hangs over your head”. While a majority of the songs seem to be depressive and almost aggressively vengeful (“Pigsty”), there’s a playfulness to it that doesn’t bring the listener down.

While there is a consistent style for each song, the writing is near perfect. There aren’t any songs that drag the album down or feel like they could be filler. Personally, I’ve thought that Bayside’s past releases (aside from Killing Time) were a bit scattered, in that they had several amazing songs surrounded by hit or miss rock songs.

Cult manages to find every element that made Bayside’s best songs work and is arguably their best album to date. You owe it to yourself to listen to one of the best records by one of the hardest working bands on the scene.

4/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.

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