Six albums in, and Pennsylvania’s Wisdom In Chains have hit the gas once more on the sprightly The God Rhythm (Fast Break!), delivering a definitive statement of classy punky melodic Hardcore. All the expected elements are expertly delivered, from “Oh-o-oh-oh’s” to breakdowns, and pacy three chord strumming to emphatic tunes, all played out with a sense of invigoration of a band at ease in their own skin, and their place in the musical world.
With the term “hardcore punk” being bandied around since the early 80’s, there is an acceptance that this is a fairly conservative scene – experimentation and progressive elements aren’t particularly prevalent – and there is a recognition that various tropes and stylings should be present, with success coming to those who do it well, do it best, and who do it true. With that in mind, it is refreshing to see Wisdom In Chains mix things up. While not re-inventing the wheel, or adding a host of tech-shit or unnecessary divergences to their sound, the depth to write and include the brooding ‘Mathematics’ and a five – minute thoughtful sample led melodic instrumental (the title track) to break up the album shows the quality and musical ability inherent in the quintet.
Vocalist Mad Joe Black leads with throaty melodic shouts – possessing good enough cleans to carry enough of a tune, particularly on the Sick Of It All meets Misfits barreling of ‘Best Of Me’ – and menacing on ‘Skinhead Gang’, a track that scoots into a welcome bass-led breakdown. Wisdom In Chains show their chops with the uptempo open chord driving hardcore of shout-a-long ‘When We Were Young’ and it’s reminiscing of all-night BMXing, with the crossover thrash of ‘Fatherless’, the pure Hardcore of ‘Violent Americans’, and while punking out with the well-intentioned ‘Joey Ramone’.
In true HC style, The God Rhythm doesn’t hang around, 14 songs, 37 minutes, a whole host of exactly what you expect, sprinkled with some shrewd deviations on the normal theme. Sitting pretty much in the centre-ground of popular Hardcore, stylistically, suits Wisdom In Chains, they can throwdown, holler, groove, breakdown to their heart’s content, all while keeping on keeping on.