A horrible hack

Only Fumes and Corpses

Who Really Cares, What Really Lasts

Year Released: 2010
Format: CD
Label: Lockjaw Records
Reviewed by Michael Stewart on Apr 12, 2011
With fourteen tracks spread over nearly 41 minutes, Only Fumes and Corpses’ latest offering is a slab of musical endeavour more expansive than most hardcore aficionados are used to. Opener ‘Futile Promises of a Listless Mind’, with its monolithic introduction devolving into a rolling thunder of minor chords, hints at a From Ashes Rise influence, and there is much of that outfit’s melancholy lurking here. Yet the songs are never quite as downbeat, nor as truly raging at their most impassioned. Modern Life Is War might, perhaps, be a better reference point – modern hardcore that attempts to and succeeds in avoiding the usual sub-genre oubliettes.

Where bands share ups, though, they often share downs, and like Modern Life is War, Only Fumes and Corpses seem to only have three tempo settings, and switch between them at the same intervals in every song. Too often slow builds lead into fast verses and choruses, devolve into mid-paced breaks, and lead into fast verses again. Even when the band provide a truly fresh take – the clever dubby, Ruts-influenced slowdown in ‘X Marks the Cross’, for example – it is at risk of getting lost amongst the formality. Confined to a thirty minute live set and complimenting their current material with older songs, the band will likely hit the spot. In committing so much material to this disc, however, they are spreading themselves a little too thin.

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