With Handbook for the Hopeless, New Jersey's the Break perfects the urgency and passion first realized on its 2001 self-titled CD and the subsequent 2002 split-EP it shared with Let It Burn. The group exposes its principles post-haste on the incendiary opener, "The Wolves Are at the Front Door." As frontman John Waverka sings "Life is too short to live in panic or in doubt, take this chance, make it count" he dares his nation's youth to embrace change. But it's just one in a number of examples where the roaring, rumbling quintet (also consisting of guitarists Kevin Tunney and Mike Rummel, drummer Danny Windas and bassist Moss Allen) comes into its own with the aid of producer Alex Newport, best known for his work on acclaimed efforts by the Mars Volta, Ikara Coltand At the Drive-In. Slipping into a Ramones-like groove for the powerful, anti-religious manifesto "Bullet and a Broken Cross," the band again ascends to greatness with its riff-strong anthem "Eyes Across the Aisle." The Break could be accused of being too guttural on the musical knuckle sandwich "'67 Avenged?" and the Motörhead-like "Ride the Snake," but there's something so pure about the Break's brand of punk that fans of the genre will have little to balk about.
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AllMusic Review by John D. Luerssen