01. Heavy Steps 02. No Easy Way Out 03. Face The Fire 04. Crossed (feat. Joe Duplantier) 05. Everything Relates (feat. JJ) 06. Dead On The Fence 07. Shadow Of Doubt 08. True To Form 09. In Between 10. Standstill 11. Menacing Weight
With their 20th anniversary due to hit the books this year, COMEBACK KID could be forgiven for mellowing out a little. Instead, the Winnipeg hardcore crew have defied logic and the tides of time once again: somehow, they sound even more pissed off, energetic and unstoppable on "Heavy Steps" than they did on the intermittently experimental "Outsider" five years ago. There is plenty to be pissed off about right now, of course, but the inspirational intensity that made COMEBACK KID stand out from the start is still much in evidence. "Heavy Steps", their seventh album, takes them back to the streamlined hostility of old, but with a bigger and harder-hitting production than ever before. If things are fucked, this album seems to be saying, then we're going to rage against the dying of the light until we drop, at full volume and firmly in your face. So, wear a helmet and strap in.
As if to prove that they are in no mood to fuck about, COMEBACK KID go for the throat from the start. The title track is a rousing encapsulation of everything that makes this band tick, from thunderous breakdowns and irresistible grooves to razor-sharp melodies that never stray into hackneyed nostalgia. After a five-year gap, the overall effect is like a friendly bomb going off. Likewise, "No Easy Way Out" is a flurry of verbal and guitar-driven punches, with an obnoxiously slamming central groove and a chorus to kill for. For something more recognizable as melodic hardcore, "Face The Fire" fits the bill at an exhilarating full pelt, but with a deeply metallic and gnarly mid-section and a euphoric final sprint.
GOJIRA's Joe Duplantier adds his unmistakable riffing and vocals to "Crossed": a match made in cross-pollinated heaven, wherein both parties are audibly reveling in crossover fervor. It's a bludgeoning hardcore song in spirit, but the Frenchman's subversive instincts are on full display too and the combined impact is almost comically exciting. If this album's other collaboration, "Everything Relates" (featuring DEEZ NUTS' JJ Peters) doesn't wield quite the same prestige, the song itself is so infernally catchy that it matters not. In fact, COMEBACK KID are such great songwriters at this point, that everything they touch seems to turn to flaming gold. "Dead On The Fence" has a furrowed brow and a bad attitude, with cudgeling beatdowns and a main riff that owes its hide to '80s thrash; "Shadow Of Doubt" takes a more dissonant, left-field approach to metallic hardcore, with shades of old-school EARTH CRISIS and cascading waves of punk rock snot; "Standstill" rattles and slams with runaway train energy, as the Canadians' hardcore punk roots bubble to the surface.
A ruthlessly economical 33 minutes of pumped-up positivity and righteous fury, "Heavy Steps" is a resounding slap around the face, to wake the world from its stupor. You may commence flipping the furniture now.