Metanoia are back with their follow up to their incredible debut album Retroceder Nunca. Even though the album was in Spanish as the band is from Chile, the heartfelt, driving melodic punk hooked you from first listen. This time around the band crowdfunded the album, actually recorded it in English, and the result is one of the best albums of the year.
Metanoia’s beginnings go back to 2011 and within a year or so they released their debut album Retroceder Nunca (Never Retreat) in 2012. Citing influences from bands like Dogwood and Craig’s Brother, the album was full of simply great melodic punk rock songs sounding a bit like their influences and also reminding this reviewer a lot of bands like Offspring with maybe some Rise Against and Pennywise thrown in. Retroceder Nunca remains one of those albums on my frequently played list and always seems to brighten the day. For this album, the band started a crowdfunding campaign to see if there was interest in an album done in English and to test the waters out the band recorded and released the single “Hope”. With the positive response to “Hope” the recording of Chili-Nation was assured.
I’m not one who is usually a fan of intro tracks but Metanoia manage to write one that immediately draws in the listener and sets the stage perfectly for the second track “Right Thing Day”. The song itself serves lyrically as a great introduction to the album as well, starting off with the line, “Here we go again folks…” This is simple, fast melodic punk rock at its finest, complete with some not quite perfect starts and stops, feedback, and even some coughing at one point during one of the stops.
The songs on the album cover a lot of ground when one tries to compare them to other bands. For instance, “Dear No One” reminds me a lot of something from All or the Descendents in terms of subject matter and even in some of the verse sections but in the end reminds me a lot of something off their first album as well. On the other hand, the title track “Chili-Nation” with its lyrics and vocals sound incredibly like a Five Iron Frenzy song. Given the subject matter and some of the phrases used like “super cool”, one could probably convince the unknowing that this was a FIF sequel to “Oh Canada.” The ska-tinged “2000 Years Ago” is another track that brings up the FIF vibe.
On Retroceder Nunca, Metanoia covered “My Annie” by Craig’s Brother so it only seems fitting that Craig’s Brother would be involved in some way on this album as well. This time, however, Ted Bond of Craig’s Brother provided vocals on the song “Thankful”, trading verses with Benjamin Lopez. Bond’s vocals blend perfectly into the song and it must have been a great experience for the band to be able to incorporate guest vocals from one of their influences. The song itself is one of the faster ones on the album and also displays the band’s ability to write songs that carry a lot of meaning.
There are surely way more reasons to be thankful, rather than whining like a baby, gotta be thankful, use what I have ‘cuz life is now. Won’t wait for the next stage to start running after my goal. Enjoy this life, thank God 4 for everyday; let off the brakes & make this day count.
Musicianship is not something typically called out on punk albums but is something that does need to be mentioned. The band as a whole works together very well, and even bringing in some guitar solos and extended bass runs typically not heard from punk bands. Drums and bass and strong and fast and carry the songs and having two guitars really adds a good bit of depth to the sound and allows the band to incorporate some interesting trade off riffs.
Lest you think this is all breakneck speed, the band shows on songs like “Matter of Time” and “Children” that they can slow things down considerably and still keep the listener interested. Like many good punk albums, the songs lean toward the personal experiences, ones we all can relate to. “Matter of Time” is one of those songs that makes one stop to think about what’s really important in life.
The band also shows a willingness to address tough issues like abortion in “Not UR Call”, in which the band argues that all life is precious as it comes from God. Impressive to me is the clarity of the message they are trying to get across, especially given that English is not their native language. A lot of native English speaking bands could learn quite a bit from the writing on this album.
Simply put, this is a great collection of punk rock songs. Everything you’d expect from fast, melodic punk rock is here, from the inspiring and challenging lyrics to the fast guitars, bass and drums to the heartfelt vocals and sing-along parts…it’s all here. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed. Note: As I was finishing this review Retroceder Nunca started playing and if you don’t have it, you really owe it to yourself to pick it up as well.
Written by John Jackson
02. Right Thing Day
03. Dear No One
04. Chili Nation
05. Thankful (featuring Ted Bond)
07. Matter of Time
08. Not UR Call
09. Peter the Slacker
10. 2000 Years Ago (featuring Peter 118)
Benjamin Lopez – Bass, lead vocals
Diego Rivera. – Guitar, backing vocals
Brandon Guzman – Drums
“Retroceder Nunca” (Never Retreat) 2012 [review]
Record label: Thumper Punk Records, Nov. 2015