Friday, February 3, 2012

Record Review: Comrades – "Collection 2010 – 2011" (Blood & Ink Records)

Great music-great musicianship and songwriting. Comrades delve into (mostly) instrumental, progressive rock and post-hardcore to eliminate musical boundaries and achieve a coherent whole. Enchanting melodies and captivating song structures, compiled here in a stunning release for the music enthusiast.
Genre: Rock / Post-hardcore
Country: USA
Label: Blood & Ink Records (link)
Band Website: Reverbnation
This is a rather unusual review for TYS, since Comrades’ music is much ‘softer’ compared to most of the bands presented here. Their sound might surely turn off some hardcore kids, but on the other hand it can surely please music enthusiasts. You can simple describe this as ‘good music’ without any terms and definitions. That is to say that these guys and gals, Joe, Connor and Laura, wrote some really inspired, good-sounding songs.

Now, more in detail, Comrades play rock with some post-hardcore hints here and there. That sounds like Sweet Cobra but Comrades invest more on ethereal, heartfelt melodies than sheer heaviness. There are surely parallels to post rock acts like Explosions in the Sky but again Comrades are quite different: their songs are more ‘unsettling’, featuring more changes and complex structures than the usual ‘building up climax to the point of distorted catharsis’ pattern. You can find some similarities to bands like Keelhaul, Red Sparowes or Burst (less), but although they share the passion of building ‘progressive’ songs with manifold changes of rocking riffs and melodies, Comrades are much less loud, sweaty and dissonant.

This album consists of 10 compositions, gathered over a span of time of two years as the title conveys. This is actually a compilation of 3 self-released EPs, as an outcome of their recent signing with Blood & Ink Records to be followed by a new album later this year. Most of the songs are instrumental and whenever vocals appear they just complement the message of the songs. The production is very bright and every instrument has its own place delivering all those timbres that you can expect from an instrumental rock band. Apart from unerring songwriting, Comrades’ are skilful players.

Riffs, melodies and tempo changes are intermixed in a very eclectic and captivating way. What really stands out here is the omnipresent enchanting melodies. The songs are utterly memorable and interesting to the point of ‘forced’ repeat. It is hard to talk about particular favourites here - all songs have something to say. They have a very grounded, human nature which is appealing directly from the heart of the musician to the heart of the listener: ‘Weight’, ‘Giants’, ‘Where Moth and Rust Destroy’ (the most HC song), ‘Hammerhand’, ‘Lend Me Your Heart’, ‘We Are Halves’, ‘Encourage, Encourage’. You can actually listen to the whole record through the following link:

Comrades are doing their part; they have built their own sound and have pushed some elements of rock, progressive rock and post hardcore further. It is like they distilled those music styles into a coherent whole in order to expand, or better abolish, their boundaries.

Comrades come from Richmond, Virginia, US and they have toured extensively playing in any imaginable place. They are also part of the ‘Motherland Collective’, which is dedicated to re-establishing respect, collaboration and mutual support in the scene. As Comrades put it in their own words:

“[We are] Three very different people trying our best to make honest music about things we believe to be important, such as (but not limited to) integrity, the remedying of social injustice, and our creator God.”

Review by Rigas

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