For Fans Of
In the hardcore scene it seems that only the finest are able to pull off being in several genuinely good bands. Whilst he’s the backbone of probably the most influential hardcore act of all time, Freddy Madball’s rap career is something that realistically never should have happened. Nevertheless, it happens occasionally, for example in the California scene where there’s crossover of members between a bunch of epic bands (Carry On, Betrayed, Internal Affairs etc.) By-and-large however, it seems to be a rarity.
Another apparent exception to the rule is Disengage. Somehow the cohort of hardcore dudes from Wilkes-Barre, West Pennsylvania have managed this with seeming relative ease. The band features members of Bad Seed, a short-lived but well-liked tough hardcore outfit whose split left hardcore kids devastated worldwide. It also features members of Title Fight, the latest band to capture the scene’s attention, who have thoroughly deserved the hype with their unique hardcore-infused pop punk tunes. If that wasn’t enough, the band also has members of Cold World, perhaps one of the biggest names in contemporary hardcore.
Too often bands with these kind of credentials turn out to be shit. I’m happy to say that Disengage’s “Look Back” is yet another triumph for hardcore. Taking significant influence from late 80s youth-crew bands such as Youth of Today and Turning Point, “Look Back” is a perfect testament to old school posi hardcore. Unlike so many straight edge bands today, the lyrics aren’t contrived or overly clichéd. Equally their sound is neither original nor entirely referential. The vocal style is great, its adolescent sound reminiscent of Gorilla Biscuits so refreshing in an era when more "brutal" equals better.
The EP opens with “Straight Faced”, a straight edge anthem which is reminiscent of Project X energy. Putting the punk back into hardcore, the title track “Look Back” features more great punky guitar riffs and frustrated lyrics. The ironically titled “Drinking Song” is hardcore punk at its best, featuring a simplistic, confident guitar riff throughout. Other than “I Am…”, a two second song which is simply gang-vocals screaming “I am straight edge!”, the shortest song “Betterman” is another strongpoint with a distinctly 80s two-step part. “Inside” leaves the release on a slower note, favouring chugging riffs and a sincere straight edge lyrical message over the fast drumming and strumming of previous tracks.
This is an excellent collection of short, consistent and catchy posi-hardcore anthems. If “Look Back” was released in the late 80s it would probably have been heralded as a classic. Injecting freshness and integrity into a somewhat stale scene, I’m very excited about the future of Disengage and sincerely hope that it doesn’t meet the same tragic fate as Bad Seed.
1. Straight Faced
2. Look Back
3. Drinking Song
4. I Am…