There’s a saying people like to use, often with some sense of accomplishment to it, when a person or thing – or in our case a band – has returned from some time away from the spotlight. Don’t call it a comeback, they say. Well, to be perfectly fair, Liferuiner aren’t really on the comeback trail – so for now, we’ll abide by that statement. However, the band’s rebirth via some member rotation and a brief period of rest manifested itself in a different attitude from vocalist and only remaining original member Jonny O’Callaghan. After working out some kinks on the aptly named Sons of Straight Edge EP, Liferuiner’s first LP in five years brings a more melodic, focused sound to the table without losing the fire that fueled earlier, perhaps less serious cuts from the band. What results is a strong re-creation of the group in a way that should warrant a second chance for anyone who didn’t like their early work – and a welcome introduction for hardcore fans who may have missed them the first time around.
Regardless of the dynamics of Future Revisionists, this is very much a hardcore record despite some shifts in tempo, approach and song structure. If you’re looking for uptempo bangers, “Savages” and “Fissure” are among the faster, bustling jams of the bunch – the latter lacing itself with equal parts moving melody and punching distortion to create something that is enjoyable both for the singalong lovers and moshers alike. On the slower side, movements like the rhythm-riding breaks on “Feeling/Meaning” hit hard enough despite some simplicity across the board, while opener “Vacant” balances tension with aggression quite nicely as the guitars and vocals unfold through the song’s just past three-minute running time. Hearing these thoughts run together feels a little strange at times, but moving across tracks shows that Liferuiner can feel pretty much at home in any tempo or amount of melody without losing their cathartic nature in the process.
There are moments though were the band seems a little too vanilla for even a somewhat fairly straightforward genre, particularly when the rhythms just can’t match the intensity or fervor of the melody. “Feeling/Meaning” hints at some dissonance partway through, but loses some steam in an approach much more akin to bands like Norma Jean or Stray from the Path. In a similar nature, the opening breakdown of “Waivered Lives” just feels a little too bare, especially compared to the much more emotional second half of the track that sizzles above light melodies, a humming bass line and in-your-face vocals. However, the much more poignant moments of the record rely more on twisting guitar lines and O’Callaghan’s fiery mid-range screams than totally punishing breakdowns – a point found more often than not as the layers of this record bloom in harmony together rather than stripping down to a somewhat restricting by-product of the genre.
Future Revisionists isn’t a game-changing hardcore record, but it takes the meat and potatoes of your average hardcore jam and takes it to somewhere entirely different through the path of a rather changed mindset via melodies and positively-driven ideas. If you’re a fan of anything from Norma Jean to Touche Amore, or perhaps are just looking for a new band to jam, Liferuiner’s new effort proves they aren’t done just yet.