Stop. Right now. Take a deep breath and exhale; now, listen. Chances are, you hear the world around you, continuing on just as it had been – just as it will continue to do. However, take another breath and listen closer. Maybe, just maybe, if you listen beyond the ambient drone of the television, beyond the incessant buzz of traffic outside your window, you can hear the world as it really is – an ecosystem filled with equal parts strife and surreal beauty. Maybe three doors down, a teenager in his stepdad’s room struggles with his sexual identity. Maybe forty miles away, birds chirp gleefully and a light breeze whistles through snowcapped pines. Maybe almost seven thousand miles away, a war wages on with an unclear purpose towards a questionable end. No matter what your surroundings, the honest truth is that Toronto-based hardcore band Liferuiner paints its picture perfectly. Laden with dynamic, impeccable melodies and detailed with daunting moments of darkness and unfathomable feeling, Future Revisionists is an album which sees the band completely reinventing not only themselves, but the world around them to create an immersive, exploratory release that is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Like every truly great fire, Future Revisionists begins subtly as embers. “Vacant” is an emotionally driving, yet slow-to-build track which provides among the greatest immediate evidence that the Liferuiner the listener is hearing here is not the same Liferuiner they’ve come to know throughout the band’s past releases. With hard-hitting, driving percussion and ambient, almost-ethereal guitar lines, the track starts with an almost dream-like atmosphere. This same sense of ambience is found other places throughout the album as well – “Fissure” and “Self Purgatory” especially make use of these soft, subtle moments to wrap the listener in layers of silken, smooth serenity. This element is truly unlike anything Liferuiner have brought to the table to date: making a stunning use of sheer instrumental ambience to create an involved, thorough atmosphere that creates a complete disconnect between the listener and the world around them. Rather than weighed down in sorrow and bitterness, the second the clear, serene tone of the guitar and pure, pounding drums kicks in, the listener finds themselves transposed into the most pure and flawless form of bliss there is.
However, not all elements of Future Revisionists are based in the ethereal. Rather, the album is still very much founded in hard-hitting, emotionally complex and instrumentally sturdy hardcore. Whether it’s the album’s lead single, “Dreamcatcher,” which functions as proof of this, making use of riff-heavy leads and punctual, speedy drumming or “Waivered Lives,” which uses a lyrically-driven vocal onslaught to assault the listener, the evidence is there. Where many bands falter and stumble with such emotionally heavy and cumbersome messages and atmospheres, Liferuiner stand tall. Tracks like “Waivered Lives” or “Feeling/Meaning” show vocalist Jonathan O’Callaghan standing tall, leading the band in a coordinated assault akin to a steamroller – an unwavering, emotionally-charged juggernaut, pouring feeling and inspiration into ever syllable screamed and every crooned consonant. This gritty, raw display of fervor is a stark but perfect contrast to the surreal, ambient placidity found in moments of “Vacant” and “Self Purgatory.” However, while the hard-hitting elements of Future Revisionists are just that, they are also far from “heavy” or clichéd and chugged-out. In fact, perhaps the only moments of bone-splintering heaviness come from the breakdowns in “Despair” and “Dreamcatcher.” These tracks work together in duality to create a sort of climax to the album’s frenetic heaviness and establishing an all-too-marvelous dynamic.
What is Future Revisionists’ dynamic, though? What makes it different from the heavy-soft tactic employed by countless hardcore acts around the globe? The answer is simple: it reaches down from the very essence of mankind’s being. From every instance of human love and every shred of mankind’s depravity, to create a completely and utterly immersive experience which tells a true story of the human heart and history. The rallying cry on “C.O.P.E.” is the same rallying cry heard from movements and rallies around the world. The crushing dissonance on “Despair” is the same soulful defeat felt in the core of every person in every corner of every city. Liferuiner have crafted one of the first truly universal hardcore albums that has ever existed–no matter who you are or what you stand for, there is something to be found on Future Revisionists which will resonate somewhere within you. Future Revisionists is not only in sync with itself, but with the listener and the world around it. It creates a symbiotic, living, breathing entity with its environment: something I have never witnessed in any hardcore release to date.
Take a deep breath. Feel your chest walls expand and your diaphragm contract. Air rushing in and air pouring out. Your heart beating in your chest. That’s the sound of life at its most solitary and simplistic. Now listen to Liferuiner’s latest and most emotive release, Future Revisionists. The rush of the guitars and the pulsing pound of the drums aren’t too dissimilar to the thumping of your heart. The roar of the screams all too similar to the air in your chest. However, there’s something more–within the chaos of the album, there is the sound and emotion of an entire world just waiting to be heard; not just heard, but also experienced. That’s what Future Revisionists is: not just a collection of songs, not a series of scenarios, but a collection of emotions and feelings begging to be felt.
For Fans Of: Converge, Shai Hulud, Fall City Fall, Counterparts