No Bragging Rights – Cycles


Album

Cycles

Label

Shock Records

Year

2013

For Fans Of

Hellions - Hundredth - Dream On, Dreamer

Summary

Raw, emotional melodic hardcore

Rating

82 / 100

Kicking off with the ambient guitar tones found in ‘The Advent of Change,’ No Bragging Rights‘ ‘Cycles‘ launches into an onslaught of tempo-shifting, emotionally driven melodic hardcore that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go from start to finish. Balancing a constant feeling of aggression with hard hitting verses, catchy choruses, and emotional lyrics that can often feel as if they’ve been written about your own life, it becomes very clear, very quickly that ‘Cycles‘ is a keeper.

Fast forward a few tracks to the title track, a song about the relationship between a son and a neglectful father, and the struggle for the son not to follow in his footsteps, shows better than nowhere else on the full-length just how raw some of the lyrical content of ‘Cycles‘ can be. It certainly doesn’t stop there, though. Check out ‘Legacy,’ which puts forward the idea of the uncertainty of death (“We’re not immortal but we’re so sure about tomorrow”), with a positive twist on the end, or ‘The Prequel,’ which talks of the impact that one single person can have on the world (“It’s just intimidation, a vulgar display of power. I’ll take the firewood myself and I’ll even bring the matches.”)

There is the occasional moment on the record that feels a bit generic or cliched, particularly in some of the breakdowns on the album, but these moments are few and far between. No, it’s certainly not perfect, but at no point do the flaws of the album even begin to outweigh, or frankly, even look particularly significant in light of all the positive things that ‘Cycles‘ has to offer.

Of particular note on ‘Cycles‘ is the vocal performance from front man Mike Perez. The clean vocals have consistently perfect intonation, driving the catchier, more melodic moments found throughout the record, whereas the screaming conveys perfectly the extremity of some of the emotional content of the album, and both vocal styles really push things up a notch. Special mention must also be made to the work of guitarists Christian Lee and Daniel Garrow, which really manages to breathe a lot of life into the instrumental side of things on the album.

Conclusion

‘Cycles’ isn’t just your standard melodic hardcore album. It’s an open window into the life of Perez as a lyricist. It’s an outpouring of the heart and soul, and contains the sort of honesty and sincerity that is missing from so much music, at such a high level. One wouldn’t blame you for not having heard of No Bragging Rights in this country, but as soon as you do take note of the band, you won’t be able to forget them.

Tracklisting

  1. The Advent of Change
  2. Hope Theory
  3. Appraisals and Omissions
  4. Cycles
  5. Not My Salvation
  6. Legacy
  7. Fight For My Life
  8. Repeater
  9. The Prequel
  10. Ascensions

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