Label: BDHW Records
I’m not sure why, but I never really got in to previous releases by UK hardcore bruisers Dead Man’s Chest before. Something about their heavy brand of hardcore never quite clicked for me before, and whilst I could enjoy and like it, it was never to the extent I thought I should have. Well, new album Violent Days absolutely changes that. Heavier than ever, and with new vocalist Martin standing front-and-centre, Violent Days is an ample demonstration of just why Dead Man’s Chest have been able to keep going for ten years, and they show no signs of slowing down or mellowing out.
Following the requisite introductory track, “Disavowed A.D.”, “Burden To Bear” comes crashing in with a perfect demonstration of what Dead Man’s Chest are all about on Violent Days. Down tuned Slayer-esque riffs, feedback, and rhythms that recall Hatebreed set the tone of violence and negativity. It’s a punishing start to a punishing album, and it gets no more comfortable from there. As the album progresses, there’s even a few aspects that recall Holy Terror hardcore, and though it never goes full-on apocalyptic in feel – it’s a much more personal, down-to-earth record than that – there are still moments when Violent Days feels world-ending.
The 38 minute duration of the album flies by, and with the exception of acoustic interlude track “A Long Walk Gone” – a much-needed pause in which to catch your breath, as well as giving the band a different way to emphasise the dark atmosphere of the album – it is never less than bone-breakingly crushing. Yet, as heavy and dangerous as it is, the music held within Violent Days has a certain catchiness to it (at least, as much as is possible for this strand of hardcore), and such is its power that it’s sure to inspire solo-moshing and head-nodding whilst you waste away at your desk.
If any complaint can be leveled at Violent Days, it’s that it’s a rather exhausting listen; but that’s kind of the point of albums like this. They’re not made for listening to on repeat all night, but for providing a sharp shock of energy and catharsis. That’s exactly what Violent Days offers, and it does that very well, with more variety and stronger song-writing than many other similar albums. It’s rare to hear a hardcore album as punishingly heavy as this that displays such musical talent. Not that it’s always apparent: the album is first and foremost about the violent, almost physical release it provides, not sitting back and appreciating how well the riffs and movements are structured. Angry, violent, and cathartic, Violent Days is everything you could want from this kind of hardcore.
edit note – I’ve been informed that there has been a copyright issue over the artwork for this release, and the promo agency advised I take it down as a result.