The King Is Dead

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Sacramento's Hoods are hardcore purists fighting what some may deem a losing battle in a hostile metalcore universe; but with ten years of experience under their belts, and the latter movement's mid-2000s supremacy still some distance from transcending fad status, just who will have the last laugh? No question about that if you ask guitarist and songwriter Mike Hood, who really says it all with the first few couplets of this album's title track: "You thought that you would break us, you'll never beat us down; as long as blood runs through our veins, you'll never wear the crown!" Damn, 'nuff said! Yet he and his bandmates are not finished yet, proceeding to bash out another nine venomous assaults in quick succession. Both the deliberately advancing "Drawn Out" and the lightning-fast "26 Seconds of Hate" are self-fulfilling promises; "Lost Hope" and "Addicted to Dying" mercilessly rail against self-pity and self-delusion, in that order; and "Ernie Cortez" (penned about a friend deceased) proves as effective as any song here, despite barely embellishing upon an immaculately simple, three-chord riff. The only problem, and it's a familiar one for hardcore, is the album's terribly short playing time, at just under 20 minutes! In a genre defined by short and to-the-point songs, it's frankly unfair to expect much more, but then, at least The King Is Dead is a strong enough release to have listeners clamoring to give it another listen as soon as it wraps up, anyway.

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