Like their counterparts Modern Life Is War, Philadelphia hardcore crew Paint It Black have taken the genre of hardcore punk and given it a swift boot to the face. While its conventions may make it seem like a relatively easy genre to replicate, Paint It Black and MLIW have demonstrated that it doesn’t always have to be straight and narrow. MLIW’s Midnight In America may have been last year’s hardcore juggernaut, but Paint It Black have gotten the jump on everyone else this year with their anticipated third effort for Jade Tree, New Lexicon.
Urgency was never an issue with Paint It Black- and immediately New Lexicon seeks to establish itself away from rudimentary hardcore. PIB aren’t shy when it comes to pummeling guitars, machine gun vocals, and that impressive percussion backbone, but what their latest work exhibits is their ability to slow the pace down without sacrificing that all important vitality. Both “The Ledge” and “Four Deadly Venoms” act a definitive opening salvo- combining their more recognized traits with a new sense of patience, giving their instrumental resolve a little breathing room with slower breakdowns and bridges.
Dan Yemin’s vocal abilities are as powerful as ever- screaming and pummeling that mic like no other, yet never sounding strained or forced. He sings about pain, loss, fear, and the inevitability of life in an unfamiliar, yet devoted manner. It all comes to an apex with the track “Past Tense, Future Perfect,” a perfect blend of passionate hardcore and melodic bravado that melts together as some of their best work to date. Like the closing bell of their 2005 album Paradise, “Past Tense, Future Perfect,” comes across as a calling card for the band- proudly proclaiming; “We are invincible / We may bend / but we will not be broken.“
The year is young, and there will be plenty this year that will challenge PIB for the top spot. But it is hard to look past a record so passionately and so concisely done as New Lexicon. Throw your fists up and mark this one “essential.”
(Jade Tree Records)