Album Review: We Ride – “Empowering Life”

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Since the release of 2012’s On the Edge, Spanish natives, We Ride have established themselves as force to be reckoned with. Their relentless work ethic and resolute determination to conquer the hardcore scene, one blown eardrum at a time, has seen them play with bands such as Madball, Bane and H20. This new album finds the band with the bit firmly between their teeth as they look to spread their brand of forward thinking hardcore to the masses.

Opening song, “Voices”  ignites the taper for what follows as the band slowly piece together the song, allowing the instruments to build before merging into dense wall of powerful, provocative hardcore. That’s even before singer Mimi Telmo throws herself into this cyclone of noise as she caustically spits out her vocals. A lesser vocalist might lack the power to elbow their way to the front but her voice proves to be the perfect guide to lead the band through the raging storm. Opening single, “Self-Made” is a barreling riot of pounding drums, earth fracturing bass and meaty distorted guitar chords.The intro is vaguely reminiscent of Minor Threat’s masterpiece “In My Eyes” before the band take it somewhere else entirely with an inspired, razor sharp, stop start riff. The song is a dynamic and reassured highlight that perfectly illustrates the chemistry between all the members of the band. The song hurtles along before slamming on the brakes for a brutal breakdown that Hatebreed would be proud of. This proves to be no fluke as the crushing breakdown of “Do It All Again” confirms.

“What You Are” features an inspired guest appearance from JJ from Deez Nuts. Here Telmos laments a relationship that has dissolved into apathy, leaving little choice but to move on. “Time Is Now” again demonstrates the band’s profound understanding of dynamics as it  changes tempo from furiously quick to brutally slow. The band clearly know their hardcore with their sound sitting comfortably next to New York hardcore legends Sick Of It All. Like them the sound is ferocious with songs stampeding along whilst retaining a clear understanding of melody. The band write hooks that smack you in the face but then lodge themselves in your brain long after the air has ceased to vibrate.

We Ride are clearly a forward thinking hardcore band. They tip their hats to the greats of the past but they are just as comfortable introducing more contemporary metalcore elements into the mix. For example, “Summer” opens with a sheen of distorted guitar before taking off in a more metalcore direction. “Everyday Matters” has a more spacious opening as the band wind up for another brutal assault. It’s a fundamentally awe-inspiring channeling of rage. One that has clearly been well-honed over years of touring. Lyrically, the songs center around astute calls for self-belief without ever coming across as repetitive or cliche. Even the more political subject matter never comes across as contrived or trite. “Endless Hope’s” pleas for empathy and understanding for those less fortunate works as a powerful and important message for the times we live in.

As an album this is as ferocious and unforgiving as you would hope. It’s full of hostile, barely controlled vitriol but framed around taut hooks and memorable riffs. Front woman, Mimi Telmos, has said in the promotion of this record that she wishes to be seen as a positive figure for females in the hardcore scene. This she has achieved easily. Irrespective of her gender, Telmos is a raw and honest singer leading a band that has crafted a blistering album. What is evident is that there is no schtick or pretence here, just one of the most authentic and impassioned hardcore albums you will hear this year.

4/5 Stars


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