When people picture Texas, they typically picture 10-gallon hats, people with missing teeth and southern drawls and the Alamo. What you may not know is that big ol' Texas is also home to many heavy bands such as Upon A Burning Body (okay, you may know of their origins since they tell you about a hundred times) or Oh, Sleeper. It's also home to a few up-and-coming hardcore bands – one of these being Live Without. Live Without is a four-piece blackened hardcore band from Houston that just released a new album, Liar's Reign, independently and are showing a lot of promise as a band fresh to the scene.
The first track is aptly titled "Introspection" because the lyrics are criticizing today's hardcore scene and the ways it has deviated from its roots. This track begins with a pounding drum beat, a crunchy guitar riff and a spoken-word intro that calls out all of the "tough guys" in the scene today. This leads into the a yelling, raspy hardcore type of vocals that you will become familiar with as the album goes on. The guitar work on this track involves a lot of chugging which suits the music but doesn't make it interesting. The second track, "Burrower," starts us off with some ear-splitting feedback over some plucked guitar notes just to crush you with a slow, heavy verse. The vocals constantly change between a low, almost growling type of vocals to the raspy, yelling vocals that the album started off with. The track fades out with the same feedback as it began with, which also leads into the third track, "Say Nothing," as well. This feedback-filled guitar lasts for about a minute until the vocalist comes in with a fast, almost rap-like verse.
The fifth track, "Give Up," hits you hard and fast as soon as it starts, but is slightly disappointing because as soon as it starts, it seems to be ending with a length of only forty-seven seconds. The sixth track, "Inferior Design," is my personal favorite. It takes a minute (literally) to get into the beef of the song, but when it does, it's quite impressive. This track is catchy, heavy, fast and melodic all at the same time – while not being too overbearing. "Everything Leaves/Nothing Stays" is another golden track, featuring guest vocals from Matt Honeycutt (Kublai Khan) that really improve the track. This song ends with a lengthy sound clip that is peaceful among the chaos of Liar's Reign. The final song, "Pain," is a dark way to end the album with some grim sounding spoken words towards the end.
Like I said before, the guitars on this album aren't that impressive most times, but they do have their moments. The bass – tuned down so low that the strings sound as if they may fly off at any moment – has a few standout bass lines and can be heard clearly over everything else. The aggressive vocals on Liar's Reign also aren't too special, but like the guitars, they do the trick and don't grow old too fast. What really steals the show here is the drumming. The drumming keeps things upbeat and interesting on every song. Each hit of the toms, snare, bass and cymbal are placed perfectly – and whenever the fills come in, they are absolutely brutal. The production on this album is top notch and everything sounds just right.
Liar's Reign seems to end a bit quickly, clocking in at just over 24 minutes. I only wish that Live Without had made this album a tad bit longer because I would have liked to hear more. This band is showing a ton of potential and I can't wait to see what they do as a follow up to this release. Be sure to download their album from Bandcamp for free and if you like it, throw a few dollars their way.