Album Review: The Bronx (IV)

joel wosk gets hardcore…

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On February 5th, 2013, Los Angeles hardcore punk band, The Bronx, will release their fourth self-titled album, The Bronx (IV) via White Drugs/ATO Records. This will be the first album the group has released in five years. The Bronx has been an integral part of LA’s underground punk scene for the past decade. Fusing hard rock sensibilities with punk rock chops; they have performed and toured with bands such as Fucked Up, Mastodon and The Refused.

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The Bronx (IV) hits the ground running with its opening track, “The Unholy Hand.” Singer, Matt Caughthran, demonstrates his vocal prowess by delivering a performance filled with attitude and powerful screams. What sets this band a step above, musically speaking, from their contemporaries is that Caughthran has the ability to scream in tune. This is an attribute that I find lacking in a lot of hardcore bands. I understand that melody is not necessarily the focal point of the hardcore style of music. That being said, given the nature of the music The Bronx are making these days, this is a definite strength and it gives the group as well as the album a certain degree of musical credibility.

Moving forward, the music contained on The Bronx (IV) has undeniable hooks from both a musical and lyrical perspective. With lines like, “sometimes the best laid plans still end with blood on your hands” (“Youth Wasted”) and “there’s a part of me that’s crazier than you” (“Too Many Devils”), after an initial listen, you will probably find yourself shouting along to most of the choruses. I know I did. The songs rarely exceed the three-minute mark, which keeps the ferocious pace of the album going.

The only potential drawback I find on the album is the split between the hard rock elements and the obvious punk rock foundations of the band. Although The Bronx succeeds at both styles of music, when they successfully fuse both hard rock and punk, they create some pretty awesome music. However, there are tracks on the album that are simply straightforward punk songs, and I feel that these songs sound slightly out of place. On an album that’s strongest moments find the band combining two musical styles, the tracks that lean strongly to the punk side have a diminishing effect on the overall musical aesthetic of the album.

That being said, the album is very well crafted and has several memorable tracks. With their strong vocals and powerful riffs, The Bronx makes music to get up and move to. If you’re going to listen to this album, and I suggest that you do, crank it up! If you’re with a group of friends, you’re probably going to get a party started. If you’re in your car, try not to get pulled over because this is high-energy music.

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