For Fans Of
Is hardcore generic these days? Fuck yes. Does that make it a bad genre? Fuck no, and this is what Adelaide’s Reactions prove.
For the first proper full-length album from this quintet, it’s been mixed and mastered really well and that may have something to do with it being done by Shane Edwards at Karma Studios (the same place that makes Trophy Eyes, Hellions, Enter Shikari sound so bloody good). Seeing as how sounding like every other local band means that you blend into the scene like a leathered up gimp at a sex fetish expo, having a sonically superior record helps push you out to the front of the flock. Because as they say, it’s about 70% the band’s performance, and about 30% the engineer’s job, and the group definitely brought some of their best for ‘Soul Witness‘. However, the music is rather generic, but as stated, it’s the good kind that you can wrap your ears around in joy, not in skin-crawling repulse.
‘Death Creep’, like an epiphany, hits you: this is all the band really has to offer. Reactions music is all about swift, heavy, metallic guitar riffs, obnoxiously shouted vocals, a pummelling rhythm section that is tight as it is simple. Of course, all of this is taken straight from the How To Hardcore: 2003 Edition, but hey, it all works well, and it’s not like these songs are bad by any means.
‘Bite My Tongue’ is up next and it offers a quick glimpse into the clean vocal department before a pretty mosh heavy breakdown section. In fact, the singing throughout the record is short but it adds a much needed added element to the band’s sound. Another good example of this is ‘The Soul Witness‘, which tries to veer away from the usual style the band employs throughout, to varying degrees of success.
In the vein of groups like Backtrack, the band whips things up into a real frenzy with ‘Bound By Blood’, which is definitely one of the stand out tracks here, because you just know that shit will go completely and utterly off when it’s played live. Plus, it’s got David Wood from Terror and Down To Nothing doing guest vocals, so what more could you want?!
About halfway through you come across ‘Forced To See…’, a dark sounding instrumental that starts out with eerie and moody guitars and soft dynamics and then it suddenly erupts into a more metal influenced final half with a soaring lead guitar and the band going as hard as they can. Now, that you think about it, you don’t really see a lot of instrumentals in hardcore music these days, with the exception of short snare drum roll intros and typical full-band crescendo’s that are kinda dull. So kudos, Reactions, kudos.
After that, it’s basically business as usual as ‘Damned To Be‘ and ‘Climb‘ bang through your head like a bull in a china shop with thick grooves, tight riffs, and a vicious vocal delivery. For the last three songs, the album is basically set on repeat and with the exception of the balls out, stop-start final section of ‘Forsaken‘ it’s not really worth mentioning. While some may think of the release as a whole in that manner, you can’t deny that the album, as a whole, kicks all kinds of ass.
At the end of the day, ‘Soul Witness’ flies by you without anything really remarkable to talk about it, but Ian MacKaye be damned if this isn’t a damn good album. Reactions prove that just because you are a generic band in a saturated scene, that it doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to show. But hey, don’t just take our word for it, head over here, give it the album a quick stream and pick up a copy.
1. Death Creep
2. Bite My Tongue
3. Bound By Blood
4. Guilt Trip
5. Straw Dogs
6. Forced To See
7. Damned To Be
9. Wicked Ways
10. The Soul Witness