Don't Wait Up

Written by: PP on 22/07/2014 22:43:45

Always criminally underrated, never widely enough respected for what they gave to the scene, Bane gives us their last goodbye on "Don't Wait Up". It is their fourth and final studio album on a hardcore career that arguably came to define how melodic hardcore would sound like for the next decade and beyond, thanks to seminal releases "It All Comes Down To This" (1999) and "Give Blood" (2001). These are some of the albums that heavily influenced the classic material written by the likes of Comeback Kid, Verse, Have Heart and Terror to name but a few hardcore heavyweights, but they were so far ahead of their time that the scene wasn't ready to fully embrace this newfound melodic base to the traditionally down-tuned and testosterone-laden genre. And what a way is this to say goodbye. "Don't Wait Up" is a vital release that easily ranks among the very best releases in straight up hardcore this year and even beyond that. Welcome to the world of two-step hardcore where karate moshing is discouraged in favour of intellectualism that is appraised through an incredibly detailed and nuanced lyrical universe that is as contemplative as it is introspective and analytical. If you know the saying Shakespeare hates your emo poems, the opposite would probably be true here, except Bane songs aren't emotional rather than stream-of-consciousness style stories and backward glances at life in general.

Letting go is never easy to do / Everyday's a new door that we all must go through / I've learned so much, you're never gone, my friend. / I know we'll meet the same shining end.

Forget the who, the what, the when, the where, the why / Did you love something with all of your might?

This is what Bane vocalist Aaron Bedard asks on "Calling Hours", a monstrously complex and intricate hardcore anthem that contains everything you want from the genre. Back-chilling lead melodies meet humongous gang shouts, down-tuned two-step sections, testosterone-driven, gnarly verses, and unbelievably enough for Bane, female clean vocals courtesy of Reba Meyers (Code Orange Kids) in a beautiful finale that arguably makes the song a candidate for the very best hardcore song in the last two years. It's a rare occurrence for Bane to feature guests vocalists in their music, and here they bring along Pat Flynn (Have Heart), Walter Delgado (Rotting Out), and David Wood (Down To Nothing/Terror) who each deliver a piercing verse in their own, distinct styles. The finale of Meyers is what makes this track incredible, however, because who knew how well soothing female vocals would suit Bane's melodic but fierce hardcore/punk style in the end?

"Park St." is another highlight on the record, not necessarily in terms of the music which is textbook hardcore delivered with Bedard's indistinguishable rage on top, rather than because of the intellectual lyricism that deals with the community feeling Bedard and Bane have experienced through writing "these punk rock songs", to quote him from the track. It's a story about Bedard feeling like shit and having his hope restored through a guy who showed his "Ante Up" (Bane, 2001) tattoo on a train and gave him a few kind words. Similar theme is being explored on "Hard To Find", which is about the importance of friendship, where Bedard screams "What this really comes down to is a war within yourself. Face to face with a thousand places that you would rather be. And what you chose is gonna bind you to this time.". The way these three sentences tie up with the rest of the song is captivating to say the least.

Where most other melodic hardcore bands have catchy choruses that repeat themselves slavishly in a formulaic manner in key moments during the songs, Bane have always chosen to give choruses the middle finger. That doesn't mean Bane songs aren't catchy in their own right, because the melody lines will repeat in a similar manner, but the lyrics won't. Every song is a story - and here's where Sean Murphy (Verse) sourced his inspiration from - that lives its own life through the hardcore punk instrumentation. And that's really what makes "Don't Wait Up" such an important album within hardcore because it reminds us how multifaceted and complex the genre can be in spite of what the common denominator amongst contemporaries seems to be. I mean who else writes beautiful stuff like this quote from the brilliant "All The Way Through": "Does growing old mean growing strong enough / To kill your sentimental side / And set free all those little butterflies / From the cage that housed your beating heart? I'd rather die than see them go."

All tracks are drenched in similar sorrow and nostalgia-driven introspection about various aspects in life. They are at their absolute best when the songs are adapted to inject heavy doses of melancholia and saddened guitar melodies, such as the "Wrong Planet", which could've just been a classic Verse song for its sublime usage of melody as a contrasting tool to the lyrics: "In came the sounds that would see me through / Clenched fists, stage-dives / Salvation found in gate-fold sleeves / At last a place where I could breathe / And being no good with change I threw away the key / You'll have to drag me out of here."

It is the second last track on an album which should finally elevate Bane to the podium they deserve within the genre. It is their final album that showcases a band leaving us at the top of their game with arguably their best studio record, and they truly know how to leave the best for last. Finishing track "Final Backward Glance" is the band's final goodbye to us, where an aggression-driven hardcore punk section transitions into chilling melody and a spoken word section by Bedard where it feels like he's talking directly at us, the listeners and Bane fans, before humongous gang shout "This is my final backward glance" on the background with Bedard's manic "GOODBYE, GOODBYE, GOODBYEEEEE" screams in the end. Fuck me if this isn't just the perfect way to say goodbye to your fans, your scene, and your genre, so I'll just let him loose:

Listen... I'm not walking away from here / With a bunch of things I still need to declare / A wasted life is worse than death / It's up to you to figure out the rest / This is my final backward glance / I've never been much good at saying goodbye / Goodbye


Download: Calling Hours, Final Backward Glance, Wrong Planet, Hard To Find, All The Way Through
For the fans of: Verse, Comeback Kid, Have Heart
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.05.2014
Equal Vision Records

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