I love it when I go into my first listen of an album/band with relatively low expectations but end up being blown away. The four-piece hardcore band Expire is the latest to surprise me.
Hailing from various states in the Midwest, Expire formed in 2009. So far, they have released a demo in 2009 and two 7-inch EPs, Grim Rhythm (2010) and Suffer the Cycle (2011). Now, Expire is set to release their debut full-length album, Pendulum Swings, on May 22nd via Bridge Nine Records.
Instrumentally, I thought Pendulum Swings was masterful. The breakdowns were heavy, the two-step parts were very moveable, the riffs were aggressive while sounding great at the same time, the drumming was pretty upbeat, and the bass lines were good. The combination of those things gave me the urge to punch my dog in the face several times. Thankfully, I didn't get into it that much.
Albeit similar to many hardcore vocalists and a little monotonous, the vocalist of Expire displays a good screaming technique and there are a few songs where he really shines. His vocals are particularly strong on "Sleep Lost" and the title track, "Pendulum Swings". Also, the lyrical content on the album is very good. Some of my favourite lines are "Ignorance is bliss/Somehow it makes me wonder how I can give two shits for a two-faced motherfucker" (Spit Out) and "Help me to understand just why I am the way I am/Help me to make it right/I can't live in fear my whole life" (Dig Deep).
Pendulum Swings flows extremely well from start to finish – probably because of the fact that all of the songs have a very similar song structure – but again, there are a few tracks that stand out more than the others. The aforementioned stand-out tracks are "Just Fine," "Sleep Lost" and "Pendulum Swings." "Just Fine" was recently released and can be streamed below. This track sets the tone of the album nicely and is one of the strongest tracks on the album. The other two tracks are even more upbeat than most of the other songs, and because of that, I like them a lot. "Pendulum Swings" is undoubtedly one of my favourite hardcore songs at this moment.
Although I seem to be putting this album on a pedestal and worshiping it like a god, there was one minor flaw. The content is not very original. However, at this point in time, most bands follow a similar style or trend and there is not a whole lot of originality from bands, so this is just a very minor issue.
Despite being a pretty short album (which is no surprise with hardcore releases), Expire has done almost all of the right things with their Bridge Nine Records debut, Pendulum Swings. Kudos to you, Expire.
Links: Facebook - "Just Fine" Stream