Nevada is one of the last states I think of when it comes to hardcore. This is odd because the state produced one of hardcore's all-time greats in 7 Seconds and is also home to one of my favorite hardcore bands of all-time, Faded Grey. When I think of hardcore my mind tends to think of Southern California or the entire East Coast, as sad as that may seem because hardcore isn't just relative to the coasts, it's a worldwide scene filled with so many great bands coming out of every corner of the globe. Not one inch of the world should be overlooked including the state where what happens there stays there.
Of Faith and Fire is a new band that recalls their more recent past than the halcyon days of the The Crew and Positive Force Records. Battleborn sounds like Faded Grey's scrappier tougher little brother with its speedy hardcore anthems full of melodic hooks and shouted vocals that sometimes sound so much like Faded Grey's Lance Wells that you can't even tell it's him when he lends his vocals to "Remainder" which is a cover of Wells' old band, Tomorrow's Gone. "Remainder" was also reworked for Faded Grey but is credited on Battleborn as Tomorrow's Gone song.
Of Faith and Fire go the introspective route in their lyrics and even ask in the album's opener "Fading Away" if our hearts have gone dull? Hardcore is about asking questions; especially asking questions about yourself and how you deal with the world around you. Why do I feel this way? Why do I do the things I do? Sometimes you don't get the answers however; sometimes you need an outlet to scream and yell out those inquiries on why things go wrong. I feel this way almost every day when I wake up from a shitty nights sleep with my head in my hands as I'm racked with guilt of things in the past and have to ask myself why? Why? Why are things like this? Why did I do that? Why? Of Faith and Fire know this all too well and Battleborn as the perfect catalyst and vehicle for empty nights alone.
The production of Battleborn isn't the greatest as the mix is bit low and too dirty but this isn't on Equal Vision or even Bridge Nine so I'll let it slide. However, the layout is atrocious, the cover art looks like some Goth kid's 9th grade art project entitled, "I Welcome the Demon of my Dark Life" with its scribbles of squids and eyeballs. Yes, I get sick of getting record after record of varsity fonts and Nike Dunks clad jocks in midair but at least you can usually read the song titles on the back of the album.
I enjoyed Battleborn from beginning to end and quickly found my self singing along and wishing I knew how to two step. Of Faith and Fire are not reinventing hardcore but they don't sound like 12th generation Youth of Today either. Battleborn is relenting yet melodic. It's fast but knows when to break it down. It's emotional without being emo. This is my favorite type of hardcore. It's all seems to just come from the heart and not covered with a thick layer of bullshit. Hardcore comes from within, from deep within. Forget the fashion and just rock already. Of Faith and Fire remembers that and hopefully someday will venture away from the One Arm Bandit lined streets of Las Vegas and play out because what they have and what they are as a hardcore band doesn't need stay there.
8.9 / 10
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