Comeback Kid have been a staple to the hardcore scene for several years now, blazing through walls of power guitar riffs and shredded vocal screaming. Their latest album, Die Knowing doesn’t disappoint diehard fans, but pushes little new territory for the band as a whole. While the album will keep fans satiated, it may be unlikely to draw in new listeners.
At its best, Die Knowing sounds like a partial sequel to Broadcasting…, the band’s first album featuring Andrew Neufeld on vocals. It’s a rampaging album with nonstop chugging guitars and incredibly fast drumming. While the songs are good, Die Knowing lacks the variety and melody that we know the band is capable of. Instead, the songwriting seems to focus on heavy riff after heavy riff at a base level. It ranges between hardcore punk and metal, and depending on your taste, can either sound wickedly powerful or generic at times.
That’s not to say that the album is without gems. “Should Know Better” sounds like a demented Green Day circa Insomniac, with an insanely catchy chord progression and screaming vocals backed by a haunting gang vocal. “Didn’t Even Mind” is perhaps the most layered and melodic song on the record. “Sink In” is a powerhouse of a closer and the longest song on the album by at least a minute.
While all of the songs are good, many tend to sound similar and mush together if you’re not paying attention. “Losing Sleep” is a fairly simplistic song that flows on a simplistic metal riff. If it were just this song like this, it would be more than fine, but several songs follow the same formula (“I Depend, I Control”)and makes them sound too similar at times for a hardcore album. What shines through is the fact that Comeback Kid knows how to write a good song, but it doesn’t feel like they were on top of their game this time around.
The vocals are as sharp as they’ve ever been. Andrew Neufeld proves once again that he is one of the screaming kings. He viciously belts out each line with reckless abandon and ferocity. However, this sounds like the same old thing that has happened for the last couple of albums. While his screaming should be commended, it starts becoming almost monotonous after a few songs in, as there isn’t a real shift in scale at all. Instead, there is the dismembering crash of shouted lyrics pronounced by the short gaps between breaths.
Die Knowing is a fun album that is sure to please long time fans. However, it doesn’t seem like an album that saw Comeback Kid pushing and fighting at their best. While there are several gems on the record, there are a few filler songs that are easily forgotten. Anyone paying attention knows what Comeback Kid are capable of, but will be disappointed depending on those expectations. Die Knowing will whet the appetites for anyone needing a batch of hardcore music, but will feel slightly empty in the long run.
by Kyle Schultz