For Fans Of
Comeback Kid seem to be one of the most widely liked bands in modern hardcore and if this release is anything to go by, it doesn’t take a genius to see why. “Symptoms + Cures” is the fourth studio album from the Winnipeg hardcore favourites, the first since 2007’s polarising effort “Broadcasting…”. The CD was recorded with Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong, the whizzes behind releases by fellow Canadians Cancer Bats and Billy Talent.
Let’s face it, “Wake The Dead” was and is one of the most solid releases modern hardcore has provided. While “Broadcasting…” had its moments, its departure from CBK’s heart-felt punk infused brand of hardcore perhaps left more than a few shaking their heads. “Symptoms + Cures” marks a significant return to a more traditional Comeback Kid formula of the pre-“Broadcasting…” years. It’s undoubtedly their fastest and heaviest work to date, combining the chaos of “Broadcasting…” with the solid, catchy breakdowns which made them popular. Moreover the heavier tone of “Symptoms + Cures” is equally reminiscent of singer Andrew Neufield and Jeremy Hiebert’s old band Figure Four. Neufield’s screaming vocals are more piercing than ever, and the increasing use of melodic singing as witnessed during their live shows has finally made it to record which is definitely a good thing.
From the furious beginnings of “Do Yourself A Favour” to the brooding outro of the closer “Pull Back The Reins”, “Symptoms + Cures” is an intense and immensely enjoyable ride. Often heralded as a punk rock rather than hardcore band (I never saw it but anyway), “G.M. Vincent & I” borrows heavily from contemporary American punk. It begins with a Dropkick Murphys-esque sing-a-long part, proceeding to incorporate heavier hardcore elements resulting in a sound that’s comparable to Alexisonfire since “Young Cardinals”.
“Crooked Floors” and “Get Alone” demonstrate Comeback Kid’s musical intensity and distinctive clean vocals, conveying spine-tingling emotion and anger. The title of “Balance” is encapsulates the tenor of the song itself, and indeed the style and strengths of the entire album. Delicately crafted melodic riffs are blended with uncompromising heaviness to form their most cohesive sound yet. Clean punky singing is slotted in amongst gutsy screaming, a vocal combination wonderfully consolidated by massive gang vocals. There are some of CBK’s biggest ever mosh parts on this release, with “G.M. Vincent & I”, “Manifest” and “Magnet Pull” (to name a few) all providing catchy two-step riffs and their signature ballsy breakdowns.
The closing track “Pull Back The Reins” is the heaviest and longest song on the album, opening with a punishing riff and Neufield’s relentless vocals at full throttle. The song slams along for a while before transitioning into an epic dissonant fade-out, finally nailing the grittiness that they introduced with “Broadcasting…”.
“Symptoms + Cures” is a great return for Comeback Kid, masterfully combining the emotion and infectious heaviness of previous efforts with a new found punk rock style. Having matured significantly both lyrically and musically, “Symptoms + Cures” truly consolidate CBK’s privileged position on the hardcore food chain.
1."Do Yourself a Favour"
3."G.M. Vincent & I"
4."Because of All The Things You Say"
5."The Concept Says"
7."Symptoms + Cures"
10. "Magnet Pull"
11. "Pull Back the Reins"