Beloved was a band that I never really got into. I gave them a chance, but to me, they were just another band in the faux-hardcore/screamo scene. They were mediocre for what they were doing and living in the shadows of other bands playing similar styles of music in a much more dynamic way. They were like a less volatile version of Poison the Well or a less engaging Glassjaw. It just didn’t appeal to me. So when I heard that several members reconvened after Beloved’s breakup in Advent, I wasn’t exactly jumping to listen - in hindsight that was a mistake. Last year saw the release of Advent’s debut full-length, Remove the Earth., which was most definitely not in line with the group’s emo-core lineage. Instead the band offered a bruising concoction of 90’s metallic hardcore and early 00’s metalcore.
Advent returns with full-length number two in the form of Naked and Cold, thirteen tracks of heavy, dark, atmospheric metallic hardcore. Following an intro of swirling guitars and other noise, “Nothing” begins. If you could imagine the likes of Turmoil and Buried Alive in a head-on-collision you’d be close to what Advent offers. The riffs of guitarists Michael Rich and Matthew Harrison are menacing and the drum work of Christopher Ankelein is… seriously nasty. But my favorite part of the recording would be the vocals of Joseph Musten. They’re so raw; it’s as though you can literally hear him doing damage to his vocal chords with each and every word screamed.
“Overcome” is equally as volatile (and I’m hoping that the title is an homage to the 90’s band of the same name). The song takes a more chug-chug based approach popularized by metalcore bands, but it works. As the album continues to play out, Advent demonstrates their influence from fellow Christian hardcore bands. The rawness and visceral quality to the music brings to mind the early records of Living Sacrifice and Embodyment. It’s still rooted in the hardcore sound but also dabbles in the metal-based approach the genre took in the early part of this decade, but that’s what happens when hardcore kids listen to Slayer records.
Advent really delivers on “Revival,” an absolutely crushing three-minute song; the rhythm section of Ankelein and bassist Johnny Smrdel provide a thunderous backbone and the breakdowns are devastating. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Christian hardcore show but I’d guess even the nicest and most sincere altar boy would tear it up to this track. The seven-minute closer “Blackness of Day” is a noisy, droning, building riff-fest and provides as solid conclusion to the album.
As you may have guessed, lyrically the subject matter is tied to that of faith. In spite of their ties to Christianity, the writings of Musten are not preachy like many of their peers. Sure, he references Christ quite often, but never in a manner in which it would be considered the forcing of ideals. Rather, they come across as the musings of an individual venting his emotions.
Naked and Cold boasts some truly heavy hardcore. It can start to blur between tracks, so by no means is it perfect, but it is definitely worth checking out. I think I still prefer the band’s debut effort over their latest, but just by a smidge. The hidden track on their debut helps edge it out - that song absolutely crushes. I feel a lot of hardcore fans are going to overlook this band and album because of their religious beliefs, which is disappointing. Then again, those same people are missing out on records by Strongarm, Overcome, xDisciplex a.d., etc.
8.0 / 10
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