What I like about loads of European bands is that they sing in their native tongue. Sure, you’ll find bands everywhere that write at least part of their lyrics in English, but there are so many bands that write and sing in their mother tongue. I usually prefer that over English lyrics by non-native speakers. The quality of the lyrics is usually not improved greatly by writing in a language that is not your own (you could argue that I am not in the position to judge this as I am not exactly fluent in, let's say Spanish, but I do know how to recognize a clear case of extreme ESL). What always struck me as strange is that my home country, The Netherlands, seems to be an exception to the rest of Europe. There are hardly any punk bands that sing in Dutch. All of them aspire international stardom? Who knows… On a side-note: there is something brewing in the Dutch black metal scene where it apparently is cool to sing in Dutch. I dig it (although I can’t understand what is sung unless I try really hard, but that’s another story).
Now to Ink Bomb. This Dutch band is doing something strange. They sing in English, but mix it with German in one song. Come on lads, what is up with that (yeah, ok, I understand it has to do with the subject of the song, but still…). The Dutch accent in both languages bothers me a bit, and that is another reason I personally think most bands should stick with their mother tongue. Ink Bomb is a rather new band to the scene with only a couple of EP’s under their belt. Checking those EP’s quickly it seems Ink Bomb is sure about the kind of music they want to play, which is to say: punk rock firmly rooted in the nineties and noughties. Instead of naming a couple of international acts as comparison I’d say Ink Bomb fits right with other Dutch acts. Think Antillectual or Sweet Empire. It’s really melodic mid-tempo punk rock with lyrics that are political and a critique on society.
Fiction starts promising with a fast track. Like a lot of other tracks this song is in and out in around two minutes. There's actually only one song that is over three minutes, the acoustic "Cauterize". The compositions are well thought out, with a focus on the flow of the album. The music itself is varied enough to support that flow, with short bangers and more melodic mid tempo songs. Meaning that, with only eleven short songs this album is over before you know it and leaves you hungry. This is a smart tactic which invites you to hit play again.
There are a couple of downpoints I do need to point out. First of all, the singer sounds a bit too sweet in the faster songs. I would have loved to hear a real sense of urgency in those songs, more vehemence. Secondly, in the faster songs it feels as if the band is holding back. I don’t want to hear that in punk. I want to hear the passion, the fire! This album could have used a bit more of that. I hope that this is a classic case of a good live band that finds it hard to recreate that live energy in a studio setting.
Lastly, the short songs are also something that bothers me at times. Some of these songs end kind of abrupt. Agreed they don’t overstay their welcome, but a more proper ending would not have hurt them. All in all, this is a pretty good début by a promising band. I do feel that if they step up their game on a next release they could achieve something.
6.5 / 10
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