Fast and hard hitting finger work, awesome riffs and an intense tone and a country full of angry teenagers in search of a new hardcore band that is as pissed off at the world as they are. Everything fits. The only thing left is an anguished, screaming vocalist to pull the sound together.
The Distance, however, can’t pull it together. Not with these vocals. Like many of the newer heavy bands that have ascended into the public eye, The Distance is dragging the ball and chain of mediocrity. It is the casual acceptance of a bland, monotone lead singer that has held them back in their apotheosis to hardcore heaven. And because of this what would normally be appreciated as a great new sound is overshadowed by the weakness of the screamer at center stage.
What vocalist Jason (no last name) doesn’t seem to realize is that screaming is an art; it requires range and flexibility. It is not the noisy drone he presents. The better part of their songs are made uniform by what seems to be the same set of lyrics put into the music industry‘s bong and passed around to whoever feels like a hit. Lyrics like “I’m living out my numbered days / and on some borrowed time,” so typical of these hardcore-depression bands, lose all meaning in their redundancy throughout the genre. Any emotion they once carried is killed by Jason’s “trying too hard to look like I’m not trying” style. These lyrics, instead of being properly mixed with the classic heavy screams of anguish and anger, are blandly yelled in such a way as to leave audiences wondering whether he is singing for the band, or simply trying to complain loudly over the noise.
If The Distance has strength, it is lead guitarist, Eric (no last name either). What he lacks in originality he makes up in great riffs and nuances that make a good hardcore guitarist. His best attribute perhaps, is his ability to distract the listener for a few seconds from the overwhelming massacre that is the vocals. The Distance proves that no matter how well the other fuses work, if you’ve got a bad one, you’re still stuck in the dark.
In the absence of the emotion that once made hardcore music so intense, we’re left wondering what will happen to the genre. Are the days of the angry band over? Have we passed the time when an artist can be appreciated for his expression through well-toned and timed screams? If this is indeed the end, it is because of the new growth of bands like The Distance, cheap imitators who could never match up to their predecessors. And because of the steadily growing acceptance among music lovers of the slow and tragic demise of the art that used to be vocalism. We can only hope some can stop these vocalists before they crucify both the music they love and the careers of their talented band mates.
(Bridge Nine Records)