Incendiary - Thousand Mile Stare
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Hailing from Long Island, New York, Incendiary have firmly established themselves as a leader in contemporary hardcore within the past few years, specifically with their 2013 LP, Cost of Living. Their modern take on the metallic hardcore style pioneered in the 1990’s by bands such as Strife and Snapcase has proven to resonate with hardcore lovers the world over. Listen to the thoughtful lyrics and loud, crushing riffs on songs such as “Zeitgeist” and “Force of Neglect” off their aforementioned Cost of Living LP, and you’ll know just what makes this band so special to so many. It’s not difficult to understand why Cost of Living’s follow-up, Thousand Mile Stare, was so anticipated within the hardcore community, and thankfully, the album lives up to the hype one-hundred percent.
The record’s opener, “Still Burning,” forgoes the long intro that led into Cost of Living’s “Zeitgeist,” as vocalist Brendan Garone’s vocals cut through the mix almost immediately, indicating that Incendiary aren’t going to beat around the bush: they’re angry, and they want you to be angry too. Tracks such as “No Purity and “Front Toward Enemy” attack the injustices present in American society. Lines such as “oppression’s common theme / the silent finally scream” and “no purity / just inequality” are sure to become crowd-favorites for pile-ons at future shows. The album isn’t wholly political, however. “Still Burning,” for example, is much more introspective in nature, with relatively simple yet thought-provoking lines such as “hearing voices in your head / and a tightness in your chest / a chip on your shoulder / and a smile hid the rest” keeping the band from being too one-dimensional lyrically.
While lyrically much stronger than a lot of hardcore records, the real meat and potatoes of this record are its riffs. While the band has always sported a notable metal influence on previous releases, guitarists Rob Nobile and Brian Audley have definitely turned said influence up a notch, with “The Product Is You” and “Hanging From The Family Tree” sporting riffs bordering on the dissonant metalcore of Eighteen Visions or thrashy Hatebreed. The album beats your ass for the entire ten tracks and it’s clear that these songs were written with the pit in mind: the fight riff at the end of “Hanging From The Family Tree” will incite even those standing to the side to move.
Unfortunately, the album isn’t perfect. While all of the tracks undoubtedly bang, they all sound a little samey, and save for the stronger metal influence, aren’t much of a switch up from the band’s previous material. The production, handled by renowned metal/hardcore producer Will Putney, is just a little too clean, especially compared to Cost of Living’s raw sound, which amplified that record’s angry and rebellious music. While ultimately minor faults, it makes for a record that isn’t quite as impactful as past releases. However, these faults are just that - minor - and I’m sure some, if not most, will be more than content to simply look them over.
In all, Thousand Mile Stare has just about all you could want from a hardcore record in 2017: thoughtful and relatable lyrics, riffs aplenty, and punishing breakdowns. While Incendiary don’t exceed expectations, they certainly match them, and I doubt that anyone would be disappointed with that. A must listen for all fans of hardcore.