Artist: With Increase
Title: Death Is Inevitable
Label: Blood & Ink Records
Release Date: 2/25/14
Reviewer: Ian Harvey
3. Intolerance Plague
4. Fort Lonesome
7. The Accuser
9. Get me Out
10. Hell for Myself
It would be very easy to simple look at Death Is Inevitable, With Increase’s full length debut through the eyes of nostalgia, because the 10 tracks of the album encourage that reaction. For many of us who are past our mid-twenties, Death Is Inevitable will remind us of why we got into hardcore and metal. With Increase’s music sounds dangerous; its the kind of music you listen to with headphones while in a crowded room because you are sure no one else can “handle it”. Its an album that you are sure was written specifically for you. Its an album you study, an album you learn by heart. Yes, it will remind you of a time when hardcore was like that for you, but its 2014, and nostalgia can only take you so far. Beyond all the familiar and throwbacks, Death Is Inevitable is a killer album.
For those of you not in or past your mid-twenties, you are slowly witnessing a reemergence in hardcore and metal that borrows heavily from the scene that was growing in the mid-90s. It was raw (mainly because no one had any money to record), it was aggressive, and most of all it felt very “real”. No punches were pulled lyrically because nobody at the time was concerned with making money (because NOBODY was making money) and that was freedom in a way. If there was no possibility of making hardcore into a career, then why not say what you want? Why not make songs a minute long? Why not leave in walls of feedback? The scene was not for everybody, and we liked it that way. That “scene” all but disappeared in the 00s, but recently we have been witnessing a second coming of the thoughts and sounds that made hardcore/metalcore so great. Bands like Advent, Hundredth, Venia, Touche Amore, and Code Orange Kids are making the music that was for the few and throwing it in the face of the many. That list is now joined by Tampa Florida’s With Increase.
From the first note of “Intro”, you will understand that this isnt the overly polished, click track, over produced pop-metal we have come to expect over the last few years. The guitars, vocals, and rhythm section are produced in a way that make you feel like you are listening to a live recording rather than a studio record. Thats a good thing, because With Increase’s talent is making alot out a little; they take all the normal hardcore cornerstones and add a touch of grit and spontaneity. There is a sense that you understand what is coming, but are not quite sure HOW its going to happen. From fast paced “two-step” punk verses to giant crescendo build ups, Death Is Inevitable never slows down for minute. Yet, you can hear that the band was committed to making every track special, adding little flourishes to each song that make the listener keep thinking “that was my favorite song…, no THAT was my favorite song”. It takes a band who really know what they are doing to make that happen track to track, especially when we are talking about about a genre that by definition is fairly simplistic in execution.
The vocals and lyrics on Death Is Inevitable I think is why most people will call this album a “throwback”. They are raspy and guttural, they sound like they are coming out of a guy who screams alot at the top of his lungs. For good reason, because the lyrics are painful sounding in places, full of confession and struggle and pleading. You get a feeling that With Increase isnt screaming just to scream; they scream because this is the ONLY way to say some of this stuff. On the second to last track, we hear “GET ME OUT! GET ME OUT!” over and over again, and you truly believe that there is someone trapped in something. There is a sense of urgency and honesty all over the record that makes you keep coming back over and over to join in the struggle, and find the strength to overcome it. Now THATS hardcore.
Overall: With Increase is going to catch the ear of many who loved hardcore and metalcore in the 90s, and they deserve that attention. I would plead for anybody listening to Death Is Inevitable to listen past the nostalgia, and discover a deep, interesting album that pays in dividends as you re-listen to it’s 10 tracks. Songs like “Comatose” make me think that With Increase will expand their sound in future efforts, but for now what we simple have is a REALLY good band playing REALLY good, raw music. Isn’t that all we really wanted anyway?
RIYL: Hundredth, Jawbone, The Red Baron, Touche Amore, Dependency