Hey everyone. In case you missed last week’s introductory review (about Good Luck Varsity, which you should definitely read), I’m doing a throwback review series – mostly pertaining to bands who new made it into the spotlight before breaking up but who I think deserve a listen. If you have any examples who fit the mold, let me know! This week’s feature is the excessively-titled EP (or LP? I’m not really sure) (New Breath + New Heartbeat) = Change by This Armistice.
This Armistice was a short-lived ambient and post-hardcore band whose discography was a paltry two releases. The reviewed release was the first; the former is available for free download at this link. Their name, to my understanding, was tied to a song of the same name by The Receiving End of Sirens. It’s certainly a fitting name based on their genre. Their final final show was in 2013 with House of Heroes and no new projects have been overtly announced by the band on social media.
When I say this band is post-hardcore, I mean that fairly precisely. This release is not heavy in the strictest sense, but it’s certainly not lacking in technicality. Further, their addition of ambient elements made them quite a bit before their time – as ambient hardcore has been picking up more steam in the past few years, mostly in England.
There are only two instrumental tracks present (Nyle, the first track, and Signs, the fourth track), with a combined length of just over three minutes. The next-shortest track is just under six minutes in length. Basically, there’s a lot of action here.
The action begins right on Bullet Holes in Concrete, which quickly set the tone for much of the release. Vocals are fairly high (but let’s be real, it’s a genre staple) and it’s evident Justin Barber knows what he’s doing. Let’s not forget this is a punk derivative – there’s plenty of groove to be found. Naturally, there are a variety of progressive elements at play that help keep this track, and many others, from getting dull despite run time.
The title track continues the same energy into the aforementioned instrumental, Signs, which acts as an intro for Clarity. This is one of the lighter tracks, with a greater focus on guitar lines and arpeggios as opposed to heavy chord use. The same patterns from Signs kick back in, though it’s easy to miss with the change in composition. There is a sparse amount of screaming present, though mostly for emotional impact.
Lyrically, the album is introspective, examining the human condition and our need for redemption (hence the title). Practice What You Preach definitely showcases this, with lyrics focused on our propensity for hypocrisy.
How did love become this game we always play?
Even amid serious lyrical content, the song continues continues to display passion, groove, and energy that makes This Armistice stand out.
Start With the Sails (Burn This Ship Right Back to Hell) has a contagious start, demonstrates an even stronger groove, and, with the longest run time of all the tracks, a huge degree of progressive elements sure to keep you on your toes.
While the 2000s seemed to be saturated with indie, emo, rock, and punk bands that fell in a similar vein, some certainly were capable of rising above mediocrity and I can confidently say that This Armistice brought something special to the table.