Has it really been 12 years since Cognicide? Well, Western Addiction are back with another single word, make-you-think album title in Tremulous. They may have skipped releasing records for the entire Obama presidency (plus some), but the band didn’t mellow with age.
Tremulous is 11 songs of melodic hardcore. Led by Chad Williams’ power drumming, Williams punctuates the sound while the riffs chug and the vocals swoon, sway and, sometimes, punch. The riffs dominate at times, like in the right-at-you “Red Emeralds,” and other times the melody shines bring, such as with “Righteous Lightning,” which alternates between big chords and lead guitar passages from Ken Yamazaki. That’s how it works throughout the record, spewing anger and frustration, but sometimes taking a deep breath and settling the (tremulous) nerves before the next anxious wave.
After a decade away from the studio, it’s no surprise to have member changes. For the most part, though, Western Addiction hasn’t changed drastically. Three founding members are still active and original bassist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico joined the group for their studio session.
While most of the record is forceful and angry, album closer “Your Life Is Precious” is a step outside the norm. Written in tribute to the late David Jones (Enemy You), it’s a five-minute ballad with a notable ‘90s influence of emotional volume dynamics and solemn vocals. It’s dramatic, yet tempered in how the emotion grows from reflection to a pained cry of “there are no more perfect days.”
With Tremulous, Western Addiction prove that the past decade has taken a toll on the members’ personal lives, but when it comes to fiery West Coast-stamped melodic hardcore, their overall sound is as vital now as it was the last time around.
7.3 / 10
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