Many hardcore bands go one way or the other. Either they play ridiculously heavy to an almost numbing degree. On the other hand there are the overly melodic bands that almost sound too clean or almost like screaming pop punk bands. Yes, these are broad generalizations and I do love hardcore of both types. Most bands do very little to bridge that gap. There are bands that bring chunky breakdowns to melodic hardcore or the metalcore band with a few hooks up its sleeve but more rare is a band that combines both.
The Setup are a band that kinda confused me as the band that one time Ferret weirdos (strange for Ferret not music) Scarlet began out of. This is not the same Setup. This band is from Belgium and have been carving out their name in Europe for a little while now. They do very little to separate their metal and melody. In this case it turns into a valid distinction. Each song comes with strong melodic hooks and sounds quite heavy. The vocals have a similarity to those of Stephan from Kickback. They are hard and slightly forced but still high and screechy. This isn't entirely a bad thing but is definitely something you don't hear from many vocalists.
Each song is played with a strong melodic sense. The guitars weave in and out of heavy riffs seamlessly. This works to help the flow of each song and the disc itself. There are heavier parts strong breakdowns and 2 step parts to help kids mosh. These things come together quite well. The Best band to compare them to is Comeback Kid. Each band fails to shy away from a solid breakdown or 2 step part and both concentrate on writing good hooks. To, assumedly, show how artistic they are the band adds some noisy effects from time to time. These effects don't hurt the songs but do little to add to them either.
The production is decent but not the type of clarity one would expect from a melodic hardcore album from a bigger label. The artwork is very nice clearly concentrated on. The artwork doesn't feel as though it fits the style seemingly to fit an angry generic metal band of some sort. These are truly minor complaints. This is an enjoyable but not entirely original record. While the band does a decent job of mixing styles it still feels they have a long way to go before they truly differentiate themselves. Until they do this is a nice record.
7.7 / 10
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Posted June 15, 2005, 11:34 a.m.
An mp3 from The Setup's sophomore release The Pretense of Normality, which is out now on GSR Records, has been made available online. You can download the song "Out ...
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