Heavy music and its fans tend to have a, let’s say, confrontational attitude towards the idea of change or growth. One subgenre where it’s bluntly evident is hardcore. We like it short and sweet and the more breakdowns the better. And that long-held standard has given us stone cold classics like Agnostic Front’s Victim in Pain and Hatebreed’s Perseverance. Bailer’s self-titled EP (Distro-y Records) is certainly planted in that tradition.
On the other hand, when bands decide to shake up the genre confines and flex their muscles the results can be quite sensational. Case in point Botch’s We are the Romans or Code Orange’s last effort Forever which even garnered a Grammy nomination (which they should’ve won) and praise from Rolling Stone. Why are we so afraid of change? I don’t know. Fear of losing our favorite artists in a Metallica-esque commercial black hole I suppose.
The five slabs of metallic hardcore presented on Bailer are perfectly serviceable pieces of mosh pit enablement. The guitars crunch and slash in all the right places on ‘Death is a Reminder’ before the tempos rev up to the red in its closing moments. David Cleere’s low end makes its presence known all over ‘Tuesday Blues’ with thick bass lines that stand shoulder to shoulder with the chugging riffs. And If you enjoy the long-held hardcore tradition of guest vocals you’re in luck as Bailer gives you three guest howlers.
But there are shortcomings here as well. ‘Lying for a Living’ is an aggressive opener, but unfortunately putters on mostly fumes for much of its running time. Also, a criticism that can be applied to all sorts of modern bands is the use of over abundant vocals. I understand that there are messages to be delivered lyrically, but sometimes the words get in the way of the rest of the band’s sound. Less is more, except when it comes to double kick drums. I want all the kick drums.
Bailer most certainly has a promising future ahead of them. But once they decide to fully loosen the genre shackles, the sky is the limit.