Failure On

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Some think that hardcore punk has been vitiated by the many artists who have appropriated some of its stylistic trappings and draped them over other, less intense rock subgenres. Others see such cross-pollination as proof of hardcore's enduring vitality and continued relevance; two decades after critics first pronounced punk dead. Beloved is obviously a band from the latter camp; it prides itself on fusing emo and melodic indie rock elements with hardcore's emotional bluster and turbulent guitar roar, and it does so successfully on its debut album. When everything comes together, the effect is electric: note, for example, "Death to Traitors," which alternates spiky and intricate guitar arpeggios with interludes of dreamy ethereality before lapsing into jagged, complex math-core. "Insult to Injury," the album's closing track, starts out as a piece of aggressive but melodically compelling indie rock, then suddenly erupts into hoarse, stutter-step screamo. It's exhausting but fun, and a mighty impressive first effort.

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