Monday, June 23, 2008

Review: Means - To Keep Me From Sinking

Label: Facedown Records

Released: May 27, 2008

The metallic hardcore that Means offer on To Keep Me From Sinking has had a lot of practitioners over the last two decades or so and as expected, some do it better than others. The better bands are either tighter, more intense or occasionally even more creative. Means can compete with the best hardcore has to offer on technical skill and they leverage that in a cohesive way. The album may not have non-stop intensity, but when they kick in full force, they're a force to be reckoned with. It's really their creativity that sets them apart though.

Sure, Dylan Johnstone spends a little too much time growling and some of the riffs are common fare for the genre, but a lot of times they break free of the standard hardcore moorings. Their ability to incorporate melodic lines into the hardest hitting sections and to alter the pace seemlessly is remarkable. Even "Steadily," the album's ballad fits perfectly into place. Means manages to add delicacy without compromising (even if it occasionally strays a bit close to emo land) and they make a great case for hardcore being a living, breathing, changing genre.

Satriani: 8/10
Zappa: 7/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 7/10
Overall: 7/10


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