Rise and Fall – Our Circle Is Vicious
Europeans usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to hardcore. Though the Continent wins in the realms of philosophy, politics, healthcare, and social welfare, European hardcore has only recently begun besting its American counterpart. While Scandinavian D-beaters tend to garner the Yankee accolades, Belgium’s Rise and Fall are sure to share in the love.
Following two solid full-lengths, Our Circle Is Vicious (Deathwish, Inc., 2009) lives up to its title. The music explodes in paroxysms of grisly hardcore. In the hands of neophytes, this would be boilerplate: quick beats covered in shouting and drop-tuned guitars. Yet Rise and Fall take the tried-and-true to a more twisted level. The band infuses musclehead hardcore with minor key chords, odd riffs, and tempo shifts a far cry from the band’s simplistic early days.
As on previous albums, the band incorporates D-beat alongside NYHC breakdowns. The combination is most impressive in “It’s A Long Way Down.” But what most demonstrates their growth is the soul-smashing sludge of “To the Bottom.” Many hardcore bands now spelunk into the netherworld of despair previously explored by Neurosis (see Pulling Teeth, reviewed here). But with carefully constructed songs, Rise and Fall aren’t just cashing in on a trend. This is advanced, brutal work from a band that defies expectations. Can we begin talking about post-thugcore as a viable genre?
Rise and Fall are touring the EU now and AU in December. See dates here.