With many bands set on being completely different in a rather stale genre, there is usually a broad range of music to choose from when you’re feeling pinched for something new. Obey The Brave doesn’t fall into that category at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad thing. OTB takes the fundamentals of what makes a decent hardcore album and kicks them in the teeth repeatedly to create Young Blood. Conceptually, you’ve heard it before but it’s the weaknesses that make the release a relatively addicting listen.
To make light of my first point, take the music itself. I like to call this “posi-core” because the inspiring nature of the lyrics usually competes brashly but effectively with the incredibly acidic nature of the musical warfare. It’s this quality that makes bands like OTB and The Ghost Inside so relatable. Individually, each song stands on its own and will likely resonate the same with the listener, but as a record the variety is sadly not at all endearing. Each track is a militia of bombastic breakdowns, gritty and hoarse yells, and punishingly thick fretwork – what you expect. It works well for the most part.
Running through the course of the record, you’ll become familiar right away with what you hear. Some of the tracks (“Self Made,” “Live and Learn”) will just furiously burn through like their set was burning to the ground, while some roll back the tempo just a couple notches for a more caustic feel (“Garde La Tete Froide,” “Time For a Change”), but it’s still relatively unnoticeable. I must note the breakdowns, the many, many, breakdowns in this album. I honestly wonder how many china cymbals they went through during the recording process, since it’s used about 70% of the time. I know that’s what this genre is built on, but there are just too many of them and they lose their lust by about 10 minutes in. However I will note some of the more brutal ones: “Garde La Tete Froide,” “Get Real,” “Time For a Change,” and “Burning Bridges,” the last of which is easily the best song on the record because of the clean vocals that actually give it some amount of identity. Oh yeah, “Unstoppable” starts with a pretty decent breakdown too.
I’m probably going to catch shit for this statement, but I feel it is necessary to note the similarities between this band and The Ghost Inside. They are painfully obvious. I don’t know if these bands work together or compete against each other in the scene, but there isn’t a dynamic difference except for the vocals of OTB’s Alex Erian and TGI’s Jonathan Vigil. Listen and see for yourself. I do feel like I’m listening to the same band at times.
Anyway, a band and record like this are really hard to take at anything more than face value, only because of the repetitiveness of the music. Lyrically this record is pretty decent, so if you were going to pay attention to one thing, I’d say that. Otherwise, Young Blood is a solid but still mediocre metalcore album relying on the same dynamics that have been done time and time before. Although they say they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel at all and they “keep it real,” which is all aces in my book for honesty, that unfortunately doesn’t lend itself to being something to be taken all that seriously. I may sound pretentious, but I look for something in a metal album to be more than a flash in the pan.