Hardcore – any questions?
Contrary to what Tears For Fears might have you believe, not everybody wants to rule the world. Some of us are quite content to make music with our mates, play some shows and see different corners of the globe, if the opportunities arise – a sentiment which is shared by Trent ‘Trentless’ Baldock, mouthpiece for Sydney hardcore bruisers Relentless, as they drop their third full-length record, ‘Price Of Pain’. In the promo material accompanying the release, Baldock confesses, "We never thought we’d do more than make a demo and play some shows in Sydney, [and] now we’ve toured the world with our favourite bands and made lifelong friends through hardcore." And it’s this humble attitude and lack of ego or entitlement, that makes ‘Price Of Pain’ all the more compelling as a listen.
If you’re aware of prolific bands from the New York hardcore scene of the 80’s & 90’s, and are a fan of modern bands revising and reinterpreting that sound, then Relentless have crafted what will surely be a feature in your Top 10 for this year. Returning to producer & hardcore maestro Nick Jett, whose impressive resume includes working behind the boards with Terror, Backtrack, Strife, Down To Nothing & Rotting Out to name just a few, ‘Price Of Pain’ is a hard-hitting, furious record that builds on the foundations laid by ‘Turn The Curse’, the group's previous full-length and dials the aggression right up to 11. The vocals are one of the most improved elements on the record, and Jett seems to have narrowed in on the perfect range for Baldock, with his vocals coming across as pained and vitriolic as ever, yet still retaining a clarity and precision in delivery that makes for easily decipherable and impassioned lyrics.
‘Damaged’ kicks the record straight off with heavy, thick riffs and some classic hardcore stomp, before Baldock’s vocals burst through loaded with bark and bite. Turnstile frontman Brendan Yates pops up in the bridge for ‘The Betrayal’, dropping a killer guest spot, before Relentless bring it home with a massive closing riff and vocal sing-along that seems destined for rushed stage pile-ons in the near future. Listening to ‘Price Of Pain’, you get a sense that Jett’s guidance over the last two records has definitely paid serious dividends, as the quality of song writing on display is top-notch, showing the band in fine form, with some killer riffs and absolutely crushing track after track, like the double kick fury behind ‘Sentenced’ or the short tempered and explosive title track. Proving that they’re not afraid to flirt with some different ideas, the track ‘Starving Beauty’ launches into a ripping guitar solo, before winding down into a tight, slow section, with some delicate female vocals in the last few seconds, which add a nice touch and brief reprieve before picking up the hardcore slam once again with ‘Endless Story’. While stand-out track ‘Blue Rage’ (as the title suggests) is a contemptuous attack on our favourite boys in blue, with crew vocals crying out for street justice before a huge closing beatdown.
After extensive touring, both nationally and internationally, with bands as diverse as Ringworm, Stray From The Path and Trapped Under Ice, to Funeral For A Friend and more recently, Man Overboard and The Story So Far, Relentless have shown that their accessible, consistent and above all, genuine brand of metallic hardcore can appeal to pretty much anyone. ‘Price Of Pain’ cements this reputation with another world-class effort from the Sydney hardcore crew, that’s just as good (if not better) than recent albums by well-known groups such as Expire, Bitter End and more. Drawing once again on Baldock’s own words, “This record is a more mature, smarter Relentless that reflects everything we’ve been through together.” And without a hint of bias, he’s absolutely right. So get your hands on ‘Price Of Pain’, do what you can to support our home-grown talent and chuck a mosh if you feel like it.
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2. The Betrayal
4. Born Guilty
5. Price of Pain
7. Starving for Beauty
8. Endless Story
9. Blue Rage