Therapy? - Hard Cold Fire review
|Album:||Hard Cold Fire|
|Release date:||May 2023|
01. They Shoot The Terrible Master
04. Bewildered Herd
05. Two Wounded Animals
06. To Disappear
08. Poundland Of Hope And Glory
10. Days Kollaps
Jumping into a band's discography for album number 16 as an outsider might be a bit of a challenge. Especially when you feel like you don't quite get it. Therapy? Therapy!
This isn't my first time trying to get into Therapy? (the band, not the healthcare thing), and even then I kinda decided that it's not really my thing. What got me into the band was the most recent review you'll find here for their 2015 album Disquiet, and if you go to Therapy?'s page here you might notice that there's plenty of reviews for a lot of their previous albums, some quite highly rated, and all written by the same person, a now inactive staff member. I already know that even if I spent the next week doing nothing but listening to Therapy? I'll never match jupitereas' knowledge and love of their discog, so the torch is something I'm not in the best position to have passed to me, but with this being the longest gap in between the band's releases, I did feel compelled to try and give them another shot.
For those who aren't in the know, Therapy? is an alt rock band from Northern Ireland that started releasing music in 1990 and are mostly known for their magnum opus, the alt metal Troublegum from 1994. That's a long time ago, and in the meantime the band hasn't been sitting on their asses, but something feels like a lot of what they do is still influenced by how successful that album was, or maybe that's just the narrative that listeners have whenever the band goes from something more experimental to something more mainstream-friendly. How Therapy? would've fared if Troublegum never was, we'll never know, but as far as Hard Cold Fire goes, it's arguably even more mainstream-friendly, since a lot of the alt metal gets further mellowed out into alt rock.
I'm not saying that there's no heavy riffing on this album, and some of it is heavy enough to pass over the metal side of the metal/rock border, but as a whole, Hard Cold Fire sits pretty comfortably on the rock side. As interesting as some of the riffing is, the vocals are the driving force, and Andy Cairns is someone I still haven't completely grown to enjoy as a vocalist (which is ironic since I do like JAAW). There's a bit of a disconnect between how melodic the vocals are, which remind me of anything from grunge to pop punk, whereas the instrumentals feel focused on a slightly different mood (also ironic because Andy is literally the only guitarist). Some of it might be due to high the vocals feel in the mix, and with how chorus-oriented the songwriting is, the familiarity I so quickly developed with the songs seems to be mostly because of that focus on the choruses.
And while I am still not completely sold on the music itself, the vocal and chorus focus did end up making me pay more attention to the lyrics, and there's something about the angst and the bluntness in the lyrics that stayed with me, especially on the last two tracks, so in a way the album does stick the landing. At barely over 30 minutes, my gripes with the vocals aside, there's still quite a lot to appreciate and I can tell why a lot of people really enjoy their music. Hard Cold Fire might be on the more direct side of the spectrum in their discography, and the angsty lyricism and the longer prep time between releases may have been lockdown influenced, so only time will tell how this one sits in their larger discography.
||Written on 02.06.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.|
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hi-fi / lo-life
hi-fi / lo-life
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