Riot Acts

Walk Where You Struggle EP

Written by: TL on 21/04/2014 12:15:07

Two years back a small Canadian punk rock band by the name of River City caught my eye with just two short EP releases that were flat out guns blazing, matching Caleb Lionheart for speed yet deploying a more gravelly tone of voice. Sadly the band ceased to exist before hitting their stride, which is why I was positively surprised to get an email from their bassist about a week ago, asking me to check out the new band Riot Acts that him and the singer are in now. Normally there's no guarantee such a request makes it through my schedule to become a review, but as I quickly realised, like River City, Riot Acts are too good not to write about.

"Walk Where You Struggle" is, to my knowledge, the first EP that Riot Acts have released, and it also starts fast, although not quite as fast as River City. Things are less sparkly, as a buzzing bass sets a tone of more grimey realism before "Bar Fight" launches into melodic hardcore territory similar to that of Therefore I Am and Evergreen Terrace, where the call and response of the urgent lead vocals and gang choirs make for a good dynamic. Things only get much more interesting however, as "Radio" tempers the pace even more (though it's still up-beat) and the raspyness of the vocals and the dynamic between singing and guitar really reminds me of something from Polar Bear Club's "Clash Battle Guilt Pride" while the gang refrain that's emphasised toward the end is sure to embed itself in your head: "Is anybody listening!? Raaaa-di-oh, play the songs I know! Is anybody listening!?".

"Just the thought of you on your own, makes me wonder how you call this house home" - "Feedback" opens memorably, before mixing the previous tempos up with beats and feels that both lend themselves well to some hardcore pit moves. The mix of rough power and pop-punk emotiveness is peculiar all the way, somewhat similarly to what you should remember from Living With Lions' "Holy Shit". Meanwhile "Under Whose Control" roars "You can tell how pissed I am from the sound of my aggressive tone!" as it rages on at circle-pit pace for two straight minutes before sitting down for a spell of Alexisonfire-ish atmosphere that reveals that the sparkling guitar tone is actually still in there.

As the EP is complete with another solid stomper in "What's Left After Taxes", the listener can look back after little more than the first listen and quickly recognise a release that at first will seem like just a solid mid-point between gravelly voiced punk rock and melodic hardcore, yet will soon reveal a wider palette of influences ranging across multiple respectable bands, including but not limited to the ones already mentioned en route through this review. It doesn't quite blow the door off the hinges like River City's "Timeline" EP did, but it shows more diversity across twice the running time and has enough hooks to greet you welcome on each song, which bodes really well for future releases. If these guys can perhaps write a "Screams In Caves" like winner or two, they'll have ammo to make some impact, and until then I think they already have what it takes to find fists pumping and friends piling up to sing their lyrics back in the bar-and-basement circuits.

Download: Radio, Feedback
For The Fans Of: Polar Bear Club, Therefore I Am, Living With Lions, Four Year Strong

Release date 08.04.2014

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