Review: All Else Failed

All Else Failed
“This Never Happened”
(Abacus / Now or Never)

Erratic hardcore without the chugga chugga guitars or breakdowns.  Throaty, scratchy vocals are thinly stretched over manic guitars and out of control percussions.  Edgy structures to go with the edgy guitar jabs.  The singer could learn to match his dynamics to the music.  There are a few tracks where he pulls out his “singing” voice, and it comes off rather whiny and emo.  The band occasionally pulls it all down real quiet, avoiding a melodic lull, more like a tense minimalism, as the listener waits for the inevitable crash that will destroy it all.   All Else Failed utilize a lot of brisk, rapidly strummed chords, but rather than using that muted e-string stutter as a foundation, it’s these crazy fast rhythms with sudden stabs of a screechy high note guitar whines that they build into the core of the songs that catches the listener off gaurd.  While this gives an overly busy sound to the guitars at times, it generally holds down ferocity of its own.  When the singer can match even half of the dynamic the guitars are putting forth, this band should truly shine.  “This Never Happened” is solid with 14 tracks and holds some surprises in the schizophrenic guitars that always manage to bring some interesting aggression to the table.  Something a bit different and god knows the general hardcore scene could use a dose of fresh sound.