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POZ Reviews: Cruel Hand - The Negatives

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by Zac Lomas, edited by Erik van Rheenen

There is an old adage in the business world that states if you do not evolve, you die. And whether you’re Darwin or Rockefeller, this statement seems to hold true in all aspects of life, including music. Portland, Maine’s Cruel Hand is no stranger to this principle, and their Hopeless Records debut, The Negatives,is a testament to the band’s dedication to growth.  Fans of the band’s Bridge Nine Records days will notice a distinct shift from the straight thrash hardcore of releases like Lock & Key and Prying Eyes to the more palatable songs found on The Negatives.

The Negatives opens with “Pissing – Spitting” whose riffs sound like they were lifted straight from the soundtrack of an early 2000s Tony Hawk Pro Skater game and while, musically, the track lacks the standard abrasiveness of Cruel Hand’s prior work, it maintains the same lyrical ferocity, as vocalist Chris Linkovich spits the words, “Pissing in the wind, spitting at the rain!”  This defiance pervades the entire record, as Cruel Hand once again remind listeners that their resilience is at an all time high.

While The Negatives starts much less vitriolic and coarse than many listeners are used to, the record follows an ascending trajectory of heaviness, with each song more pummeling than the last.  However, the band notably injects a steady groove into The Negatives that was absent from their previous breakneck releases.  “Why Would I” speaks to this newfound rhythm, as the song certainly punishes listeners’ eardrums, while maintaining a bouncy cadence centered on Seger Daily’s supple bass-lines.

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POZ Review: New Found Glory - Resurrection

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by Becky Kovach, edited by Erik van Rheenen

There is no more fitting title for New Found Glory’s new album than Resurrection. After a whirlwind of a year that left the Florida quintet down to a foursome, and a (not so) surprising signing to pop punk powerhouse Hopeless Records, it makes sense that the band’s first album since is all about rising from the ashes and standing tall.
 
Despite the departure of primary lyricist Steve Klein and all that’s happened since, Resurrection is still, undoubtedly, a New Found Glory album. The melodies that swirl around your brain for days, the catchy choruses, swift guitar work, and steadfast drumming – it’s all still alive and well in the 13 tracks that comprise New Found Glory’s latest release.
 
This isn’t just New Found Glory though – it’s a more focused band that took to the studio to record Resurrection. Noticeably lacking are the songs about bitter heartbreak - not completely eradicated, but reined in and refined. There’s the somber “Angel,” which sees Jordan Pundik scolding: “Towards the end I heard you talking to another/Two months later/you were calling them your lover/So what makes you think/That you’re better, better than anyone/You’re no angel,” amidst heavy bass. And the more playful “Vicious Love,” whose recurring melodies are reminiscent of the bridge in Sticks And Stones’s “Head On Collision.”

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