Nor Am I

Cause Above the Conquest

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The second album by Georgia hardcore kids Nor Am I builds on the good points of the first while minimizing the debut's flaws. Foremost among the changes is that there's a better balance in the band's vocals, which now are more evenly split between a grindcore-style growl and a more traditionally punk clean vocal style. The songs themselves are less derivative than before, but Nor Am I remain a frustratingly faceless band with little to differentiate themselves from hoards of other positive-themed, emo-tinged hardcore punks. That said, late in this album there's one particularly good sign, an anthemic rocker called "Shadows and Dust" that skirts along the edge of a straightforward alt-rock sound but features by far the strongest chorus on the album, as well as the catchiest melody. Hardcore fans might cry sellout, but it would be interesting to see Nor Am I progress in that direction, just to see if there are any other hidden gems to be uncovered there.

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