Old World Harm

Written by: TL on 31/12/2015 15:37:53

As 2015 comes to a close, one of our final reviews will be a late one, of the sophomore album "Old World Harm" by San Francisco hardcore band Worthwhile. Why now, though, considering that the album came out all the back in July? Well, simply because it is a good album by a band new to our ears, and one that listeners should take particular interest in if they already enjoy themselves some Touché Amoré or Comeback Kid. The former's evocative and exhilarating melodious streaks are mixed with frequent bursts of the kind of rampant speed and ferocity that you find with the latter, making for a 'wave'/melodic hardcore cocktail that's hard to pass up once you find out about it.

Granted, at its most ordinary, "Old World Harm" seems like just a solid release in the genre, shifting gears frequently and dynamically, with hyperenergetic drumming and melodies that flow from solemn to hopeful and back, while the lyrics are thoroughly delivered via raspy, throat-scraping screams. For some stretches, Worthwhile have issues common to many bands of their genre, with things blurring together and lacking a bit of variety, which sometimes leads to the lyrics being a bit too hard to make out. But then when things click, they click on a level that compares to some of hardcore's best, namely the two groups already mentioned.

"Too young to realize some things just can't be done / Relentless! Do it anyway! Fly high straight at the sun! / That shadow of death took her father, his friend / And I can see that it wants me / It will have to catch up / I'll die chasing after my dreams!

The album starts strong with arguably its best song, "Relentless", which is rung in with a brief chord before coming galloping at the listener with excellent energy, words and great vocal flow. Frontman James Teyler spits forth line upon line of strong lyricism with solid diction, while varying his rhythm greatly to keep things interesting. Here one line is tied musically to the next into one powerful, connected sequence of a track, more so perhaps than anywhere else on the album, but that does not mean there aren't a number of further great moments to listen onwards for. "Journal Of A Mad Scientist" illustrates how Teyler, when at his best, can put a relatable topic, like drinking to escape your worries, into vivid and dramatic lyrical imagery while his band's guitar melodies come crashing down around him. Meanwhile "No Man's Land" starts with the kind of single line - "Do you dare watch what a man can do to another man!?" - which can latch onto any hardcore-attuned listener and make them think of screaming it back to the band live, even before knowing anything else of Worthwhile's music.

"Fingertips on piano keys! This head thinks! This heart sings!"

"A Requiem For The Sons Of Harmony" further proves that Worthwhile have it in their arsenal to seize you instantly, fortifying the record's main impact: It's the kind of album that makes you want to spend time with the lyrics booklet, where the lines feel like ones you can make your own, promising just how good of a communal hardcore experience one could have catching the band live. And if that's not exactly what a band is supposed to do in this genre, what is? Granted, Worthwhile might not be firing shots of the same high calibre on all eleven tracks of "Old World Harm", which shows that they could do with developing a bit more versatility and originality before they make their name the size of Touché' or Comeback Kid, but when these guys are hot, they're white hot and searing, resulting in some definite must-hear moments for fans of 'wave' and/or melodic hardcore.

Download: Relentless, No Man's Land, Journal Of A Mad Scientist, A Requiem For The Sons Of Harmony
For The Fans Of: Touché Amoré, Comeback Kid, Modern Life Is War,
Listen: facebook.com/WorthwhileBand

Release date 17.07.2015
Hopeless Records

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