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Incendiary – Unrestrained split.

Incendiary – Unrestrained split.

This is a record I’ve been waiting to get my hands on for quite some time. I happened to see Unrestrained on tour in Europe last year and they were a reasonably tight live band, so when I heard they were doing a split with Incendiary, who’s first album ‘Crusade’ made them a particular favourite of mine, I was excited to check out the result. Order placed from a cool distro in New York, I sat with baited breath for a few weeks before the 7″ landed on my doorstep along with a handful of other records.

The 7″ consists of 2 tracks by Unrestrained, who hail from Portland, United States and 2 by New York state metallic hardcore band Incendiary. Despite being excited to listen to the record, I did note the artwork wasn’t quite as eye catching as Incendiary’s previous vinyl effort. Although I saw them live once before, Unrestrained aren’t a band who’s recorded output I’m familiar with, so I decide to listen to their side first. When I saw them last year they seemed to be of a more melodic slant on the hardcore sound, but the tracks recorded on this seven inch seem to of a more progressive nature, nodding to 90’s bands like Harvest. There’s some catchy riffs in there I like, and the production on their side of the record compliments singer Justin’s vocals well, who’s screaming vocal style really does sound period and track ’80k’ has a neat spoken section in the middle too. I think their sound translates better to a live environment really though, as their 2 tracks on this split didn’t catch my attention as much as I’d have liked upon first listening (if a record gets you nodding along upon first listening it’s a usually a good indicator you’re going to dig it), and I had to re-try a couple of times to get a feel for what the band were really about.

After a couple of listens I decide to change over to the Incendiary side, which, almost immediately proves to be more what I’m looking for in a hardcore record. Being ‘heavy’ is often an attirbute I’m reluctant to apply to a band as it’s such a subjective and indefinible characteristic that not many people will relate to it. Whatever it is, however, this side of the 7″ has it by the bucketload. Hailing from New York state has allowed Incendiary to fuse elements of the classic NY sound with crushing metallic flavours reminiscent of bands such as 108, the result sounding satisfyingly similar to Indecision and Buried Alive. Their first full length record ‘Crusade’ used this format to create a startingly good take on late 90’s style heavy hardcore, and this split continues the theme. First track ‘Head In Check’ is a politically charged comment on organised religion by vocalist Brendan, with a massive sounding breakdown in the middle that is sure to have kids injuring each other soon enough and resulted in me doing some serious headbanging at home. The low metal guitar tones sit over a creative bassline which sounds groovey but heavyweight none the less and really befits the bands list of influences.

If you’re one of the ‘older’ generation, particularly, this record might be worth picking up. If you’re perhaps starting to feel a bit jaded by and disconnected from today’s current crop of popular ‘Hardstyle’ bands, the Incendiary/Unrestrained split might be just what you need to remind you that there are still bands out their capable of paying hommage to the sounds of those before them, while still experimenting with new ideas and not sounding like a poor imitation.

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