Comeback Kid

Wake the Dead

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Increasingly, it seems like the only thing that separates hardcore from metal, even "melodic" metal, is the vocals. If the singer is carrying a melody (especially a high-pitched one), it's metal; if he's just yelling, it's hardcore. (If he sounds like he's belching or channeling Cookie Monster, it's death metal.) In either case, count on blistering tempos and big guitars that may follow complex chord progressions or may just sketch out vinegary power chord changes. Comeback Kid generally sticks with the complex-changes-and-declamatory-vocalist approach; tempos are good and brisk, the guitar sound varies between chuggingly aggressive and downright pretty, and singer Scott Wade doesn't deliver his lyrics as much as he plunks them down in front of you like someone dropping a two-by-four on the sidewalk. Sometimes they trip themselves up: on "False Idols Fall" and "Our Distance," the tempos are fast enough that the drummer's backbeats sound like misplaced onbeats, and "Bright Lights Keep Shining" exhibits the worst kind of neo-punk lyrical laziness, with the standard-issue complaints about some undefined (but apparently horrible) "this." But man, those guitars. They pretty much make it all worthwhile, even when the drums are confusing and the lyrics are annoying.

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