Hardcore is possibly one of the most common and prominent forms of Christian music that has ever scoured the scene. The large following of both old-school acts, such as Black Flag
, and more modern groups, such as For Today
and August Burns Red
, has proven the great popularity of this faithful genre. In the modern domain, Pittsburgh crushers Those Who Fear
is absolutely no exception. A quintet that assembled in 2005, this group released their first EP in 2011, simply entitled “Legacy
.” There, they make their debut to the hardcore scene with their large abundance of slow yet crushing breakdowns that showcased plenty of potential for the band. This EP turned the heads of Christian metal and hardcore label Facedown Records, and subsequently, in 2013, Those Who Fear
unleashed their first full-length beast fittingly named “Unholy Anger
.” The album boasts twelve violent tracks, out to ravage the scene alongside its predecessor.
While the musicianship overall is nothing particularly special, it nonetheless holds up strongly. The aggressive vocals are incredibly rough and tempestuous, but this is not even half of the brutality that “Unholy Anger
” displays throughout. The instrumentation is just as abrasive, especially the guitar work. They are mainly composed of crude, pummeling riffs and chugs that engulf the album almost entirely. Although this is frankly all that can be said about the guitar play, it does assist in building the album’s solid framework of musical brutality. The same may also be stated about the drums. They demonstrate an energetic yet solid sound that makes the framework even sturdier and more potent. The sound production was done by Josh Schroeder, who has also worked in mixing and mastering albums for other projects, such as A Plea For Purging
, The Burial
, and Your Memorial
. It is done very well, administering a somewhat crunchy yet clear sound for the music that makes all of the musical elements shine without sounding overly sterile and processed. In conclusion, the musicianship and production in this album are nicely done.
Those who read the album’s title, “Unholy Anger
,” are highly likely to find that the music is quite fitting towards this name. This record is one-hundred percent brutal and simply unrelenting hardcore, packed with incredibly heavy guitar work, aggressive vocals, and violent yet solid drums. There is a grand abundance of destructive breakdowns that could surely transform a standing crowd into a vehement mosh pit with just one of the album’s tracks. The great buildups to these breakdowns also add more fuel to the fire that the tracks breathe. Whenever these breakdowns are not ravaging the listener’s eardrums, the band instead treads down the two-step hardcore route, with steadily paced yet still rather intense parts. These two elements transition and flow well with each other, since they are, for the most part, evenly paced between each other. While it is, like the musicianship, nothing new or innovative, “Unholy Anger
” is one of those hardcore records that knows what it is: A violent, vehement, and angry album.
Unfortunately, aside from the visible lack of conceptual originality and the typical and sometimes silly and overdone Christian empowerment lyrics, there is one enormous and horrific flaw that renders “Unholy Anger
” as a rather difficult album to fully enjoy throughout: The repetitiveness. All of the songs sound almost, if not entirely, the same, with overly similar breakdowns, overly similar pacing, and overly similar structure. Although there are very few instances where one can distinguish certain songs from others from specific segments in each one of them, the majority of the songs all have far too much in common, coming across as different versions or remixes of the same song. As a result, the album is tragically altered from a nice and violent dose of Christian hardcore to a bland and rather dull stream. This is truly a shame, because the music itself is quite decent, showcasing the brutal side of the hardcore realm. Sadly, this decency is chained down by the repetitiveness and the sameness of the songs in this album, and, as a result, “Unholy Anger
” does not successfully reach a proper level of full enjoyment.
” is an above-average hardcore release; while the album does bear the burden of that one fatal shortcoming, it is certainly not abysmal. It does brandish a handful of good points, including the solid musicianship, solid production, and even more solidly structured and brutal hardcore. The music is very potent and uncompromising, and, as stated earlier, each track alone is enough to conjure violent frivolity in the mosh pits. In regards to the hardcore itself, Those Who Fear
succeeded in producing some nice and brutal hardcore tracks. Unfortunately, what this album did not succeed in was making the songs distinct from each other. the fact that the vast majority of the songs are far too congruent to each other for their own good prevents this album from being a completely engaging record. However, that being said, hardcore fans and those new to that genre may take pleasure in listening to this. While this is definitely not starting off on a very strong foot, there is still some underlying potential in “Unholy Anger
” that may unveil itself in the future.