I’m starting to actually enjoy going into album reviews knowing next to fuck all about a band, as is the case with Kid Presentable and their new album Modern Living Fear.
All I know before hitting play is they are a five piece hardcore band from Canberra, and knowing how cold it is in that part of the world I already know their music is going to be fast – if only to keep themselves warm…
The first thing I notice about opening track Identity War is its short running time of only one minute. Interesting.
It soon becomes evident perhaps why the songs are kept short, and that is probably because it would be almost inhuman to keep the bands frenetic pace up for any longer without risk of bodily harm.
Guitars chug, drums smash and the timing is all over the shop, and this is all inside the first ten seconds of the song.
Based on that one track I take a look at the running time, which says nine songs, 25 minutes. And I think already that taking Kid Presentable in short, sharp bursts is most definitely in the interests of public safety.
Neural Disease slides in straight behind the opening track, almost blending in perfectly.
Kid Presentable certainly don’t fuck around.
There’s no elongated intro sections or easing into things. These guys want to punish you sonically and know just how to do it.
There is actually quite a bit going on here musically, but everything sits in a nice pocket with the rest of the music, creating a vicious dynamic that reeks of contempt.
I Stare Down The Halls Of Death eases (compared to what has come before) into things a little more, but is no less menacing because of it.
Vocalist Elliot barks and spits his way through each track, and you can almost sense in his lyrics the venom he has within.
Coming in at three minutes this track allows Kid Presentable to breathe a little more musically, and the band responds with tempo and timing changes galore, interspersed with well constructed and layered guitar licks that hint at a softer underbelly.
Not that that would be hard when everything else is imposing as fuck.
The title track kicks in next, awash with frenetic drumming before guitars fight back until both give way once more to the harshness of Elliot as he exorcises whatever demons are smothering him.
The tempo slows at times during this track – marginally – but the overall brutality remains.
Normally by this stage of a hardcore album part of me is getting that sense of sameness to the music, but Kid Presentable throw enough curveballs in each song to elevate their music beyond formulaic.
Guitars continue to chug in defiance while the drums control proceedings throughout, subtle solos soaring effortlessly into the abyss.
Failure Succeeds You has a haunting opening passage that is well-structured and bottom end heavy before gradually gliding into a hypnotic track that is what would probably be referred to as the ballad of the album if it wasn’t still so damn heavy. It is a moody and atmospheric tune that threatens on many occasions to break into reckless abandon but is well restrained by the sweeping guitar work that have an almost calming effect on the madness.
A nice little tempo interlude and staggered guitar/drum pattern bring to a close what is an interesting and welcome track.
Ratblood begins in a haze of vocals before once more being swallowed by guitar play that quickens with intensity as the song bursts to life. Gang vocals scream throughout, at times fighting an unseen war with the rhythm section that seems determined to retain control.
Each track on this album is led in periodical pieces by different instruments, allowing each their moment in the spotlight without once legitimately fighting for supremacy, which is one of the major things that stands out in a genre where often instruments become lost in the mix and each other, thus negating the natural arc of a song which is essential no matter what the genre.
Hammerhead splutters to life before Elliot comes in screaming and snarling as though facing whatever nemesis plagues his thoughts.
Once again the pace of this song slips between flat out aggression and more subdued moments of anger, allowing the song to build into its trajectory despite starting in a blaze of glory before slowing to almost a crawl in the back end of the song that adds yet another refreshing dimension to what is essentially a hardcore album but also so much more.
A Coming Of Rage identifies itself through the guitar wizardry of Zac and Anthony, the dualling attack complimenting each other beautifully to create a swirling maelstrom of rage before Elliot even has a chance to deliver his vocal attack.
Coming in at just over 4 minutes, closing track Weakness Walks Alone is almost epic in nature and Kid Presentable use that extra running time to ebb and flow the hardcore mayhem into a measured track with softer vocals that seem to be questioning rather than dictating.
While this is perhaps the slowest song musically on the album, it is still heavier than concrete and twice as solid.
The track slows, stops, starts and menaces at equal junctions, showcasing a more complete overall picture of the musical psyche Kid Presentable has at their disposal.
These guys have given me a new-found appreciation for the hardcore genre, which is worth recommending you listen based on that fact alone.
If that’s not good enough for you, just listen to it because it is fucken awesome!