Comeback Kid – Die Knowing (Victory Records)
CD / DL / LP
Since releasing their debut full-length in 2003 Canadian band Comeback Kid has been an undeniable staple of the hardcore community. Thanks to a heavy touring schedule their new album, Die Knowing, has been four years in the making … so has it been time well spent? For Louder Than War, Sean Smith investigates.
Comeback Kid are an easy band to root for. Numerous lineup changes have failed to scupper them from continuing their fine hardcore punk work, even factoring into the equation a change of vocalist, something that has destroyed many a group over the years. Their last record, the terrific Symptoms and Cures, was a slap in the face to anyone who expected their powers to diminish after a shitload of changes and a gruelling touring schedule, and found their marriage of ferocious punk noise with surprisingly uplifting choruses staunchly intact.
A staggering four years down the line – has it really been that long? – Die Knowing is another slab of dependable noise that follows the same template of breakneck punk smarts, breakdowns that make you want to applaud in gratitude, and an uncanny knack for a sensational scream-along chorus. That the band do this at their heaviest to date is all the more impressive. They even manage to rope in former vocalist Scott Wade for a deft turn on the excellent Full Swing. Comeback Kid, indeed.
Although pigeonholed as a hardcore punk outfit, Comeback Kid have always shared tropes with other genres, most notably the old-school heavy metal of Slayer and the best parts of the maligned “screamo” subset. They underpin the heaviness of what they do with a grasp of a devastating chorus the likes of which many a pop band would give their eye teeth for. This is never more apparent than on the blinding “Sink In” – which harbours a mantra-like refrain of “I don’t wanna sink in” against a backdrop of punishing axe noise. “Wasted Arrows” wastes nothing in its execution, a lesson is brutal hardcore noise delivered with finesse and knowing, clever hooks.
Die Knowing delivers in spades. It is a band picking up from where they left off nearly half a bloody decade ago, and coming at you correct. The grasp of what turns a good chorus into something you want to bellow at the top of your voice is a rare tool in any hardcore band’s arsenal, and yet again, Comeback Kid have proven those who doubted they would ever match the heights of their debut to be wide of the mark and then some.
All words by Sean Smith. More writing by Sean on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.