Review: Omission “Refuse Regress” CD

This Dutch act plays a very rocked out form of hardcore, but rather than one of those annoyingly trendy hardcore/punk bands that basically sounds like a rock 'n' roll act, these guys are drawing from a larger scope of influences in order to keep things sounding interesting. So yeah, there are some riffs here and there that are way rock 'n' roll, but there's also some traditional old school hardcore in there, as well as some post-hardcore dissonance and plenty of discordant little twists and turns to keep things from being too straightforward or typical. And yet most of the songs are a mere two minutes each, and the title track is actually pretty damn memorable in its use of mild melody and dynamic contrasts. "Aim for the Heart" is among the only tracks that sounds awkward in its use of rocked out riffs and weird little grooves that don't really gel with the other tracks, but "Held Back" much more effective blends unexpectedly quick 70's rock runs with zippy pop-punk picking patterns taken to old school chord progressions. "Never Again" almost flirts with some emo/indie rock riffs to some degree but the intensity of the melodic layers during the chorus definitely makes it another standout track that effectively blends its influences. The recording's not bad, but they need to pull the vocals in closer to the music and thicken things up to really nail it. For the most part everything sounds crisp and effective here, but the vocals are a little too dominant, and were they to turn up the bass a little more and add some kick to the distortion on the guitars they'd really be set. So, you know, there's room for tweaking in there to make minor improvements. The layout looks alright but doesn't really do much for me in that I don't really see much of a connection between the music and the visuals, but whatever. Lyrically the material is all personal and tends to cover your usual topics of regret and perseverance and trying to maintain a sense of hope, etc. "What we see as the smoke clears. We see ourselves facing our fears. We're moving closer to a destination we know nothing about. It's somewhere in the back of our minds. What do we feel that keeps us alive?" I like this CD, I'm sort of surprised to say. Though I'd love to hear them beef up the sound quality on their next outing, and a couple of songs aren't at the same level of quality as the finest moments, but these dudes really write some great riffs, and much of the songwriting reaches a certain level of energy and intensity that really works. They're not blowing my mind or anything, so they need to push a little harder to really hit the mark, but they could get there, and I bet if these guys were from the US they'd be pretty popular if they're a solid live act. Not bad at all.

Running time - 22:36, Tracks: 10
[Notable tracks: Walk the Walk, Refuse Regress, Never Again]
Reflections Records -