Sunday, April 13, 2014

Comeback Kid - Die Knowing

Comeback Kid
Die Knowing
Victory Records/Rocket Distribution

For a band that initially came together as a side project while Figure Four took an indefinite hiatus, Canadian (Winnipeg, Manitoba) based outfit Comeback Kid has taken on a life of its own that none of its participants could have predicted or anticipated.
Over the course of their fourteen years together, the band have grown in strength and stature within the hardcore/punk scene with a string of consistent releases and lengthy stints on the road in support of their album releases, despite a number of line-up changes (Which included a change of lead vocalists at a critical point of their career).
Four years after the release of ‘Symptoms + Cures’, and after spending time focussing on side projects, Comeback Kid regrouped and are back once again with something new in the form of ‘Die Knowing’.
While the band have always managed to maintain a high standard on their former releases, most fans consider the band’s first two releases (2003’s ‘Turn It Around’ and 2005 ‘Wake The Dead’) with vocalist Scott Wade as their strongest releases to date. But with the release of their fifth full-length effort ‘Die Knowing’, it would appear that Comeback Kid (Who currently comprise of lead vocalist Andrew Neufeld, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Jeremy Hiebert, new rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist Stuart Ross (Who was previously a member of Misery Signals and Living With Lions), bassist/backing vocalist Matt Keil and drummer Kyle Profeta) have finally managed to put together an album that rivals the band’s critically acclaimed early work.
The album starts off with the title track ‘Die Knowing’, which is a pensive and crushing slow burning introductory track that has Neufield screaming with plenty of passion, and provides the album with the perfect build up to the carnage that follows on in ‘Lower The Line’. Fast, intense and yet quite inventive on the guitar front, ‘Lower The Line’ is Comeback Kid at their best, without rehashing the past in order to do so.
After the duality of tempos and styles from the opening pair on the album, the band continue to shake up the formula and keep things moving along with the catchy and groovier based ‘Wasted Arrows’, all the while maintaining a vicious and aggressive feel throughout, while tracks such as ‘Losing Sleep’ (Which features guest vocals from Pauly Correia), ‘Beyond’, the chugging brute force delivery of ‘I Depend, I Control’ and ‘Full Swing’ (Which boasts a return of original vocalist Wade singing alongside Neufield) are by far the album’s hardest and fastest hardcore sounding tracks.
But what really gives ‘Die Knowing’ an edge over the band’s last couple of releases is the diversity of sounds on offer throughout the twelve tracks. Both ‘Should Know Better’ and ‘Didn’t Even Mind’ (The first single lifted from the album) are without a doubt the album’s catchiest and punk-edged sounding efforts, while the scathing ‘Somewhere In This Miserable…’, the sparse and anthemed ‘Unconditional’ and the triumphant hard rocking punk tinged closer ‘Sink In’ prove that when push comes to shove, Comeback Kid can think outside the box and deliver songs that stand alongside their earlier efforts – without rewriting the same thing over and over again.
I’ve always liked Comeback Kid, whether it was Wade or Neufield fronting the band. But as consistent as the band’s releases have been, 2010’s ‘Symptoms + Cures’ left me feeling a bit disappointed. I can’t really put my finger on the reason why, but it was missing something. But with the release of ‘Die Knowing’, Comeback Kid have well and truly returned to form, and sounding better than ever!

For more information on Comeback Kid, check out - http://www.comeback-kid.com/

© Justin Donnelly