I miss The Bride. I live in Campbelltown now, but growing up in Blacktown, The Bride were the band. They started life as a straight-up hardcore band and wound up being this weird amalgamation of mosh, math and melody. Artfully combining dissonance, melody, chaos and brutality, they were instrumental in building the scene that spawned Northlane, Thy Art Is Murder, Caulfield, Shinto Katana and many more. They finally got the recognition they deserved when they signed to Australian label UNFD and released their debut full length President Rd. in 2011.
That was to be their only label release. Twelve months later, they played their farewell show at Blacktown Masonic Hall and disbanded. They left a void that cannot be overstated. So, needless to say, I was delighted to discover that three of the original members had formed a new band with guitarist Lewis Usher and bassist Dylan Stark, both of House vs. Hurricane fame. This new outfit, going by the moniker of Hellions, have just released their debut full length, Die Young, on UNFD and it’s everything you loved about The Bride, but better. Yeah, better.
Die Young is an anthem for all those disaffected hardcore kids in low-income areas who are pissed at the world. It’s just so legit. Dare I say, it’s too legit to quit. The introspective, honest lyrics are a refreshing change from all those pop stars who sing about how their diamond-encrusted yacht is too reflective in the sun. Dre Faivre’s desperate vocal delivery adds a huge amount of emotion to the words he screams. Dude sounds like a rabid pterodactyl, but he’s not a one-trick pony. He has a decent amount of variety in his delivery and he uses it well. He does rely on the scream a bit too much, though, and it can be a bit irritating after a while, but on the whole, it’s tops.
Speaking of vocals, the hateful throwdown track “Infamita” features Adrian Fitipaldes of Northlane doing some guest vocals. Both of them have very similar high deliveries, while Fitipaldes’ low tone adds a whole new dimension to what is far and away the heaviest song on the record. The lyrical content of “Infamita” mirrors the bitching composition with this particular gem summing the song up: “The truth is that I know why I don’t see you now. It’s cause you can’t fuck girls with your friends around.”
Hah! You better have burn heal! Anyway, the rest of the songs on this record are great, too. Hellions clearly understand that brevity is a virtue. These songs are short and sweet, with the longest clocking in at around four minutes and the average song lasting just over two. This does mean that there is some lacking in song development. “The Great Fabricator”, in particular, could have benefited from another sixty seconds of content. It’s a really diverse song with a lot going on and it just…stops. It’s still a top song, tight and diverse, but it’s not even two minutes long.
However, it’s better to write a bunch of great songs than a couple of plodders that just drag. I wish Metallica would understand that. Besides, the riffs are just so angular and the songs move so fast that stretching their run time would probably do more harm than good. And these songs are good. The musicianship is tight as a fish’s crack. The drums are blinding, the guitars are raw and visceral and the bass adds that low end that the mix needs. It’s an incredibly diverse record, flitting between math tempos, angular breakdowns and melodic two-step riffs made for the pit.
And that’s what Die Young is. Yeah, the vocals can be a bit similar, and the tracks move by so fast that it’s hard to keep up. There’s limited development in some of the songs. “The Great Fabricator”, in particular, is a missed opportunity for some song development. But that’s the point. This is a record to be played live. Every song is angled with live performances in mind. “Infamita” is a huge djent throwdown with sing-alongs for all the kids, while songs like “Daughters” and “The Penultimate Year” are going to result in many a broken bone in the pit.
In short, Die Young’s virtues outweigh its flaws. Or, in even shorter, it’s freaking sick.