Recently I had the pleasure of listening to the Hardcore band from Johannesburg, South Africa, Truth and Its Burden. And I gotta say the band is Hardcore (double entendre) through and through. With their lyrics centred on a message of hope and other positive, uplifting subjects, and their sound reminding me of bands like Haste the Day, Confide and Burden of a Day.
With the release of their new album, I labour, 5 years after their last album, it is only natural for expectations to be high concerning the album quality. So today we are here to let you know just how good the album is.
The album kicks off with “I Am Eternal”, which opens with some ambient guitar work that is followed up by a ferocious frenzy of hardcore style guitar work and fast paced drumming. The chorus on the song is quite catchy and will definitely be a great song to scream along to in a live show. “Empty Promises” comes next and while it is not as energetic as “…Eternal” it is still a good song. The song also features a good amount of gang vocals in the chorus and is another song that would definitely be a fun song to jam to live.
“Dead to the world” the third song on the album keeps things energetic and features a really catchy hook that, as I have mentioned several times before, will be a good song to see the band perform live. “Regain Composure” is a song that barely exceeds the two-minute mark. It starts off with a spoken word intro before the instruments come barging in like a battering ram. “Righteous & The Meek” is up next with a very August Burns Red-esque intro. The song follows the trend set by the other songs by delivering a fast paced, energetic experience. The vocalist even sounds a bit like Jake Luhr of August Burns Red in the intro. “Fortified” comes next and while it feels like the straight up fast and heavy style is being done repetitively, they add a huge melodic section in the last half of the song. And they do this well enough that the clean melodic vocals don’t sound out-of-place, at all.
“Reset/Renew” is next and it is the least intense song on the album. The fast pace of the previous songs isn’t here giving listeners a break from all the ferocity present in the last 6 songs. The title does remind me of the song “In Division” by Underoath where Spencer (vocalist of the band) screams the lines “RESET!!REWIND!!” in the hook of the song. I know that has no bearing on the song itself but I would not be surprised if these guys were fans of Underoath.
Then there is “Live through Hell”. The vocals on this song are not really memorable to me…or maybe that’s because that opening riff which was also used in the end is SO BLOODY AWESOME!!!!! And then they played a guitar solo over the riff as the song was coming to an end….honestly, I think this song would have been a great album closer just because of that riff and how it was woven into the song structure. But alas it is not the last song. Oh well. “Iron & Fire”….the chorus of this song is like an ear worm. Seriously. For the past few days, I have heard the chorus of this song play in my head even when I don’t listen to it for days. It’s weird because when I first heard the song I didn’t like it much. But that chorus is so catchy. This is followed by “Weightless” the song that took the place of “Live Through Hell” as the album closer. I’d like to beef the song but there’s this melodic part just before the three-minute mark where the vocalist sings and screams “The Weight of these words / Still wasted on me”…that part of the song was pretty cool. The song isn’t a bad album closer, but I think I’d have preferred “live through hell” as the album closer.
So “I Labour” is definitely a good album, especially for fans of the Hardcore genre. That is good news for those who are fans of the genre. But for those who are not really into Hardcore/Post-Hardcore, I don’t see them enjoying the album. The production value on this album is world-class, though. It’s just the right amount of everything. Honestly, I think it is perfectly done on this record.
The songs were well done and in some cases quite catchy. Other times they were just okay. None was boring to listen to but I am not sure that a song I didn’t enjoy very much would suddenly become one of my favourite songs. But only time will tell. I also have to praise the song writing on the album because as much as most of the songs had the same tempo and energy, no two songs sounded so similar that you could not tell them apart.
All in all, this was a solid album.