Comrades have been around for more than a decade, what started as a post-hardcore band in Virginia in 2008, have now shifted its base to Colorado. “For We Are Not Yet, We Are Only Becoming” is their sophomore album, which was released under the banner of Facedown Records and hit the stores on the 7th June 2019. The band essentially comprises of the Husband-Wife duo Laura & Joe McElroy and John Gaskill (of Life In Your Way, Endeavor and Converyor fame). The band have had many ups and downs, they’ve toured quite extensively and list close to 50 tours. They list Beloved, As Cities Burn, The Fall of Troy, Red Sparrows, Russian Circles and Thrice as some of their influences.
On Social media they quoted “Our music is, like any art, an outward flowing of what is within us. It has always been influenced by our faith, and something we all feel strongly about is trying to reconcile the differences of well-intentioned people on both sides of that fence, and simply trying to be the example our faith has taught us to be. We hope that we can be a light, and give encouragement, hope, and provoke thought, no matter what your worldview or affiliation.” They list their music to be emotionally charged with powerful lyrics.
To be honest, this is the first time I’m listening to them, and I will try to keep an open mind and not be swayed with what is being said about this album. The first song on this album “Fault Lines” catches you with a beautiful melody which takes time to build up and Laura stuns you with her melodic voice. The screams didn’t quite fall in place, maybe I was expecting it to be matched with distortion for it to land and leave its impact. “Rest” manages to juggle the acoustic and distorted bits quite well, and Laura drives the song forward with her hypnotic voice which is accentuated by a soulful melody on the guitars.
“Smokescreen Season” is off to a good start as it plays out a catchy riff and just as Laura spreads out her magic, a progressive yet punchy riff carries this song forward as Laura and John dual it out on the vocals. By the time I reached “Cliff Dwelling” I could sense a formulaic setting in, but keeping that aside if I were to focus on one thing that would make this album stand out, it would be Laura and her astonishing voice. “No Past” starts off with a rumbling bass and a gush of fresh breeze is felt as Laura plays out her melody, but what doesn’t go well are the jarred screams that just feels out of place. If I skip those bits, then the song really could be something. But it just doesn’t go well.
“This Ends with Me “and “Hollow point” doesn’t sound any different from its predecessors, but whats changed is John taking centre stage on vocal delivery and Laura filling in for interlude. “This Ends with Me” had some meaningful lyrics, and a poetic finish. “Reflection” starts off mellow, takes up some aggression midway and goes back to the way it started. I truly thought that it had some potential to pull of something different, although there are melodies that will catch your attention, but the static screams puts you off. I swear I heard Dolores O’Riordan when “Half Light” came on the playlist. A quaint approach that makes this probably the best song on the album, also the fact that it was devoid of screams!
The album ends well with “Nightingale”, played with heart and melody that helps you get through a tough day, the marching drums juxtaposed with an enchanting vocal melody as it picks up pace and adds on gain, reminds you the central theme of the albums journey. There is a lot of emotional outrage that emanates, probably the only reason why two styles go hand in hand throughout the breadth of this record.
Production : The production on this album was great, the clean sections on the guitars and drums added a lot of flavour to the overall sound of the album.
Conclusion : At this point I asked myself, “Was I too harsh and judgemental?” Maybe I need to give Lone/Grey, their debut album a go before I just form a long term opinion on them. With that said, I would still love to repeat this record for some of the melodious bits, that’s where I found my silver lining.
Written by: Ankit Sood
1. Fault Lines
3. Smokescreen Season
4. Cliff Dwelling
5. No Past
6. Hollow Point
8. This Ends With Me
Joe McElroy- Guitars
Laura McElroy – Bass and Vocals
John Gaskill – Drums and Vocals
Release Date: June 7th. 2019
Record Label: Facedown Records
“Lone / Grey” (2016) [review]
Video (audio) for ‘Fault Lines’