It has indeed been a number of years since we last heard from Bane; their last full-length - The Note - came out in 2005, and with the hectic touring schedule that the band maintains, these seven inches are the first new recording from the band in quite some time (their Ten Year Plus 7 were old recordings that were never released and maybe you could include their song on the Sick of it All tribute that came out a few years ago). Maybe the long running hardcore act is going back to the beginning when they released a trio of great seven inches (see the self-titled, Free to Think, Free to Be, and Holding This Moment) all of which came out on several different record labels, but in any case, seeing new material from Bane is always exciting because they do not burn out by putting out an album a year or so. Instead, their records always have some time in between for people to want to hear more.
Boston 6:58 PM (and its European counterpart which is the same 7 only with a different name Dublin 11:58 PM) is three new songs chock full of the unique energy that only Bane brings to the table. The blistering set of tracks on this seven inch are patently Bane songs which easily fit alongside the other songs in their discography. The Bold and the Beautiful finds its groove right from the beginning with a nice drum roll and the mostly mid paced hardcore that the band has perfected over the years, and the breakdown/chorus is sure to move people while the backup vocals keep the energy going. The fast paced One Life to Live changes tempos from faster to fast and back in building what might be one of the faster songs that Bane has written in recent years; being a paean to days of yesterday, the lyrics name check Minor Threat and are just as lyrically sharp as any Bane song: If theres a hell Ill get there soon enough / Not trying to lie and wait for it / I didnt find God and he didnt come looking for me. By slowing things down to impressive effect on The Young and the Restless while injecting several melodic lead guitar parts over the rhythms, Bane makes the song while the male and female singing vocals combine with the mellow bass line to add another dynamic level.
Los Angeles 3:58 PM (and its Asian doppelganger Tokyo 7:58 AM are also the same 7) contains another three songs of infectious, energetic hardcore that is sure to move the crowds at their shows. As the World Turns is fast paced and contains some melodic guitar leads and guitarist Zach Jordan also adds in a lead vocal turn (see from The Note for another such turn) that adds a bit to the mix while The Guiding Light offers an impressive and robust arrangement that simply seethes with power and a hell of a danceable chorus and bridge. Still, the gem of this set might be the anthemic sounding Another World with its soaring guitars and excellent set of lyrics courtesy of vocalist, Aaron Bedard that you simply need to sit with the lyric sheet in hand while the song is playing like hardcore and punk records are made for doing. This track just seems to have a little something extra that the other two on the 7 do not.
Bane also recently contributed two songs to the double 7 set (along with a recently reformed Grade, Unrestrained, and Beneath Earth and Sky) that celebrated the end of the print zine At Both Ends (it is a shame so many good print zines have ended in recent years like Skyscraper, Heartattack, and Hanging Like A Hex). One of the songs is a new one and the other is a re-recorded version of a song from an earlier album. The song that gets the redux treatment is the awesome Struck Down by Me previously heard in a terribly sub par form on It All Comes Down to This (always my least favorite Bane album production wise); in its new form, "Stuck Down by Me" sounds more impassioned and alive than its album version, and the track contains the awesome outro line: Tell me a story I can believe. The new song, Non-Negotiable, is the angriest that I have heard Bane in years and sounds like the band really has caught fire again (which warms my heart); Bedard drops some truly poignant lines:
The only thing that I cant buy more of is time / How could I believe that the hourglass would ever get this thin? / I never listened / I shouldve listened / But I will fill what is left of my days with the things that I love the most.
Bane gives listeners several short and sweet seven inch slabs of vinyl to pop on the turntable and either acts as a nostalgic jog to the senses or as a batch of several exciting new records from one of the better known modern hardcore bands. Boston 6:58 PM, Los Angeles 3:58 PM (and all of their overseas counterparts), and their contribution to the farewell double seven inch from the At Both Ends zine bring a big smile to myself, and I am exceedingly glad that this band continues to carry the torch. Bane is not a preachy or pro violent or posi hardcore band (in the traditional 88 style), but they are genuine and exude that trait while still creating a hell of a great batch of danceable tunes (in the hardcore punk sense). Get these, and get a smile 100 miles wide. Bane sounds fresh again to these jaded ears, and these songs are some of their best and most passionate in a long long time. Get these and get into Bane all over again.
Boston 6:58 PM: 8.5
Los Angeles 3:58 PM: 9.0
At Both Ends: 9.0
8.8 / 10
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