For Fans Of
Crowd favourites Miles Away have long been considered Australia’s premier hardcore act both domestically and abroad. Their first two albums were released on none other than Boston’s iconic Bridge Nine Records. 2007 saw them reach new heights with “Rewind, Repeat”, extending their respectable international fanbase even further. Since then they’ve relentlessly toured the globe, seemingly making Europe their second home in the last couple of years. Thankfully they’ve gotten around to giving patient fans more to feast their ears upon, releasing their 7” “Memory Embraced” in July and finally their long-awaited album “Endless Roads”.
Taking cues from late 1990s youth crew revival bands like Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes as much as melodic punk rock like Rise Against, Miles Away have managed to cement their own signature sound. What sets them apart from the pack is their reliance upon mature lyrics and considered song-writing rather than recycled mosh parts and cheesy hardcore clichés.
“Endless Roads” was recorded at the Wild Arctic Recording Studio in New York with producer Dean Baltutonis, the dude behind releases by legendary hardcore names like Sick Of It All, American Nightmare, No Warning and Modern Life Is War. Needless to say the production is top class. The album reflects a healthy middle-ground between 2005’s “Consequences” and their last full-length, 2007’s celebrated “Rewind Repeat”, infusing the infectious two-step anthem structure of the “Consequences” era with the greater speed and melody of the latter. Vocalist Nick Horsnell’s recognisable vocal style is better than ever, conveying genuine feeling and anger as well as sounding great. Moreover the incorporation of clean vocals on tracks like “Anywhere” and “The Constant” are definitely a welcome edition.
The opener “Hibernation” sets the tone, a 52 second epic intro which features thumping drums and reverberating guitars. Arguably the one of the best songs MA have ever put out, “Anywhere” is an anthemic number which embodies the band’s finer elements. Spine-tingling melodic riffs are interweaved with sincerely sung vocals. The song slows down before building into an inspirational crescendo and concluding with a sublime sing-a-long two-step part that will have pits going mental. The title track “Endless Roads” is another standout which will have you moshing in your bedroom, an old school side-to-side part descending into a fuck-off awesome chugging breakdown. “Rain Eyes” features some of the best melodic hooks MA have to offer, reminiscent of The Carrier or Defeater in its intensity and heaviness. The climax sees soaring guitars juxtaposed with gang vocals and another quality moshable riff.
“Skeleton Key” is the “Outrage” of “Endless Roads”, a short, sweet angry number which features a great floorpunch bit before transitioning perfectly into another gem, “Unsaid”. “Unsaid” opens with one of the heavier MA riffs, its chugging, progressive eeriness sounding like Shipwreck or Creatures (definitely a good thing in my books). What follows is an excellent example of classic MA punk rock hardcore before stylishly sliding back into the initial riff, providing a mammoth mosh part and an excellent outro. Unfortunately I found the closer “Hearts and Minds” to be perhaps the weakest track, letting down what is otherwise a watertight album. The longest song on the release, it awkwardly transitions between heavier moments and more melodic parts in what is an ultimately overambitious track for a band whose primary hallmark is fast and furious hardcore.
Miles Away have succeeded once again in producing a solid, highly listenable hardcore album. “Endless Roads” isn’t much of a progression from their earlier material but is nonetheless their finest stuff to date. There’s enough continuity with past efforts to make it familiar but equal parts of innovation to make it interesting. MA once again prove their ability to write uniquely unrelenting, emotional music, reaffirming their position at the zenith of this country’s hardcore scene.
4. Separation Anxiety
6. Endless Roads
7. The Constant
8. Rain Eyes
9. Skeleton Key
11. Hearts And Minds