Comeback Kid – “Die Knowing”


Comeback_Kid,_Die_Knowing_album_coverBands changing singers inevitably alienate a group of fans, be it the mighty Black Sabbath, Killswitch Engage, and even Comeback Kid.  I know there’s a faction who still miss Scott Wade on vocals which really isn’t fair to the rest of the band, especially when so much of their trademark sound is still present.  After four years away, Comeback Kid has released their own mini-“comeback” album, Die Knowing.  Ok, so it’s not really a “comeback” but something along those lines had to get worked into this review somehow and right now I’m a bit coffee-deficient, so that will have to suffice.

Some side projects take off more than the bands that spawned them and Comeback Kid fits nicely into that category.  Going all the way back to the early 2000’s in Winnipeg, Canada, Comeback Kid started as a side project with members from the hardcore band Figure Four (who I also recommend checking out).  Being a fan of Figure Four, I remember checking out Turn it Around on Facedown Records back in 2003 and I was hooked with their brand of old-school hardcore that blended a strong sense of melody with some pounding drums and emotional vocals backed by some of the best gang vocals.  For the next album, the band moved to Victory Records and Wake the Dead came out in 2005 and was one of those classic albums that you keep long after you’ve sold all your old music.  Following Wake the Dead, original vocalist Scott Wade left the band and rhythm guitarist Andrew Neufeld took over vocal duties.  Broadcasting came out in 2007 followed by a live album Through the Noise (2008), and Symptom + Cures (2010).  You’ll notice I don’t have a whole lot to say about the later albums.  I do own Broadcasting and Through the Noise, and I’m just not a big fan of them.   The overall sound of the band has changed over the years as you’d expect when there are lineup changes, but there is still that general style that I would label as a Comeback Kid sound.

First thing I noticed is that the overall sound and tone has become more aggressive than I remember of Comeback Kid.  Old-school hardcore sometimes has that almost dangerous feel to it and that is where Comeback Kid have moved their sound.  On their older material it is somewhat of a contradiction that while they had the style and emotion of old-school hardcore, it had a safe sound to it, which no doubt added to their appeal.  The video below for “Should Know Better” pretty much sums things up about their sound and the Die Knowing.  Cool opening steadily building into a fast song with driving guitars and gang vocals that can inspire chaos in a live setting.  I especially like the break with just the drums and bass, as that is a nice element in hardcore songs, where you can catch your breath while waiting for the chaos to resume as it always does.  Andrew Neufeld’s vocals are on the ragged edge or just over the ragged edge for essentially the entire album and are mixed a bit too loud for my liking.  The older Comeback Kid sound emphasized the guitar and drums over the vocals but the current mix is not that way.

Thankfully, what I’ve described as the trademark sound of Comeback Kid is all over this album.  Without knowing the songs, I could identify the band, so if you’re a fan of Comeback Kid, you won’t be disappointed.  From what I can tell though, it’s not just more of the same and definitely not stale.  These are hard-hitting songs, that are heavier than what I’ve heard from the band in the past.  Backing vocals and gang vocals have always been a strong suit for the band and this album is no different in that respect.  The album is fairly relentless in its fast attack and that does tend to blur the songs together until “Unconditional”.  With “Unconditional” the pace slows way down and the emotional vocals increase.  About halfway through the song the tempo picks up but the tone stays lighter than on other songs, letting the vocals convey the heaviness.  “Didn’t Even Mind” is next and while faster than “Unconditional” much of the song sounds as if it was written for the Wake the Dead album in terms of style and overall feel.  “Sink In” closes the album out and has some great epic gang vocals and the earlier, lighter sound of Comeback Kid that so many of us still enjoy.  Some of the lyrics for “Sink In” seem fitting to describe what might have gone into the creation of the album when the older sound is mixed with the newer, heavier sound.  “Cause it matters to me,  Now I feel like I’ve gotta retain But there’s a little bit of something in the way I don’t wanna sink in I’ve been led astray…”

Rating: 7/10

Written by John Jackson

1. Die Knowing
2. Lower the Line
3. Wasted Arrows
4. Losing Sleep
5. Should Know Better
6. I Depend, I Control
7. Somewhere in this Miserable…
8. Beyond
9. Unconditional
10. Didn’t Even Mind
11. Full Swing
12. Sink In

Band Members:
Andrew Neufeld – Vocals
Jeremy Hiebert – Lead guitar
Kyle Profeta – Drums
Stu Ross – Rhythm guitar
Matt Keil – Bass

“Comeback Kid” (EP – 2002)
“Turn It Around” (CD – 2003)
“Wake the Dead” (CD – 2005)
“Broadcasting” (CD – 2007)
“Through the Noise” (DVD – 2008)
“Symptoms + Cures” (CD – 2010)
“Die Knowing” (CD – 2014)

Record Label: Victory Records, March 2014

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
Metal Helm

Video for ‘Should Know Better’

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