Hot Water Music - Exister (Cover Artwork)

Hot Water Music

Hot Water Music: ExisterExister (2012)
Rise Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's been a long time coming, but once the "whoa-ohs" in the chorus of opener "Mainline" kick in, any doubts that it would be worth the wait are silenced. After teasing fans with a mouthwatering two-song seven-inch late last year, Hot Water Music has finally dropped Exister, the group's first full-l.
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It's been a long time coming, but once the "whoa-ohs" in the chorus of opener "Mainline" kick in, any doubts that it would be worth the wait are silenced. After teasing fans with a mouthwatering two-song seven-inch late last year, Hot Water Music has finally dropped Exister, the group's first full-length album in eight years. It's a record that touches on the many phases of the band's career to date without feeling like a retread of past glories, and it's a record that the band should be proud of.

While this writer has always been a bigger fan of Chris Wollard's deep yet melodic vocals than that of his more gravelly counterpart, I have to hand it to Mr. Ragan; he absolutely kills it on this album. While it would be an understandable assumption that his country/folk solo career would influence his work in Hot Water Music, that is clearly not the case. He brings the ruckus full-force on tracks like the aforementioned "Mainline," as well as closer "Paid In Full" and standout/first single "State of Grace."

Which is not to say that Wollard doesn't shine on Exister as well, because he does. Songs like "Drown In It," "Safety" and "Wrong Way" are all excellent continuations of the sound he presented on The New What Next, and further developed with 2/3 of his band mates in the Draft. He adopts a more restrained vocal approach for most of the record, and it's effective, but it would be nice, even just once or twice, to hear him belt it out like he did on "It's Hard to Know" or "220 Years."

Hot Water Music has long had one of the best rhythm sections in punk rock, and their contributions on Exister cannot be overstated. Jason Black's bass fills on "Drag My Body" and "Pledge Wore Thin" are nothing short of mindblowing. It's also great to hear George Rebelo playing some more complex beats after his fairly standard rock drumming performance on Against Me!'s White Crosses.

Working out of the famed Blasting Room in Fort Collin, Colo., Bill Stevenson has provided Hot Water Music with the slickest sounding record of their career, and arguably the slickest of his own production career as well. The songs on Exister sound huge, they're ambitious and the production suits them perfectly. It allows the songs to "breathe," and lets the listener fully appreciate what each instrument is doing.

It's worth noting that for the first time since the Live at the Hardback LP the band has opted to utilize someone other than artist Scott Sinclair for album cover duties. That someone is Richard "HORSEBITES" Minino, and the album art is a departure from his usual style as well as the band's past aesthetic.

Even though it's been nearly a decade since their last proper full-length, Hot Water Music haven't missed a beat. This is an example of a band where every member is an essential piece of the puzzle, and all four members are on top of their game. The musicianship is sharp, the songwriting is filled to the brim with hooks, the production only serves to highlight the performances. This may not the group's best album (Message board junkies still haven't come to a consensus on what is), but it's a solid record front to back with moments of greatness, and it's hard to imagine anyone who was on board for the band's Epitaph years not enjoying Exister.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
cincodemilo (September 4, 2013)

Mainlines cool and the vocals on Drag My Body are great. The rest of it is eh but the songs sound good live.

Jedi (September 27, 2012)

I still think it's the best sounding record they have, production wise, but the songs aren't that strong.

hatetheplacelovethechords (July 15, 2012)

Thought it was mediocre at first, liking it more and more.

skolarx (June 23, 2012)

Hot Water has always been a band I couldn't quite get into. I'd like songs here and there but nothing ever stuck until this record. I think Pledge Wore Thin is what sold it for me. That song is damn near perfect

MN_DrNick (June 19, 2012)

This one is a real grower.

MCDitto (June 6, 2012)

Its pretty good... I just cant get past the "i second that emotion" line. Wasn't that a smokey robertson song? ("if you want devotion, I second that emotion)

nahbro (June 5, 2012)

Anyone know where I can download this (il)legally? My iTunes doesn't work and for some reason KaZZa isn't booting up.

angryderek (May 27, 2012)

the Wollard songs on this one get worse with every listen

llmp (May 27, 2012)

1. Sorry About Tomorrow
2. If It's Cool With You, It's Cool With Me
3. Reality's Coming Through
4. The Underground Is A Dying Breed
5. If I Knew Now What I Knew Then

melvin (May 25, 2012)

i get in the shower in the early morning and usually a song randomly pops into my head. I got this combination one day this week where I was interchanging and confusing the chorus of "Drag My Body" with "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac.

scoarescoare (May 25, 2012)

Doesn't matter - they rocked it in LA at the satellite.

countdownbyfives (May 25, 2012)

I'll jump in and also say not their best. but definitely their best since Caution. The Traps probably the song so far I can't get out of my head. Stoked for the show in Milwaukee in September.

PhilAPR (May 25, 2012)

Not their best but that's a big ask. I'm happy they came back with something a little different and glad they're still on top form after the hiatus.

rockkillspaper (May 25, 2012)


krumpetmuncher (May 24, 2012)

...good for you Myron, you are more punk than many?

kylewagoner (May 23, 2012)

I kinda agree with Jay. "State of Grace" completely left me unimpressed with how boring that chorus is, but it eventually really grew on me. Same goes for a lot of the songs.

AmateurChemist (May 22, 2012)

It's pretty good

Jay3313 (May 22, 2012)

Eh, not a bad album, but the choruses to a lot of the songs bug me.

Badass verses and then the choruses feel needlessly repetitive (and not in the catchy way, in the lazy way) or like they lack any real content. Feels like a generic "hook" on a bunch of the songs.

When I think about classic HWM songs, that's the part I want to scream along to...that's where the heart of the song is, so when that part is the weak link, the song feels off to me.


telegraphrocks (May 20, 2012)

Slightly disappointing at first, but after a few plays it became apparent that's it's a pretty great album.
Not their best, but great.

jimothygypsum (May 20, 2012)

this is not a good album. the new what next was a good album. this is mostly (save for 2-3 songs) bland crap, which is hard to say because this is probably my favorite band of all time. at i got a shirt in the preorder cd pack i got with this album

EchosMyron (May 19, 2012)

No. The only staffer who has any taste at all is Adam.

keithus (May 19, 2012)

EchosMyron is going to shit bricks when the years end lists come out.

multiayler (May 19, 2012)

This, so much this!

"If that fuck is going to make a pointless list of great HWM songs, he could at least include The Bitter End."

theproblemwithfire (May 19, 2012)

"More folk guitars and short shorts for you..."

haha um... what the hell are you talking about?

I can only assume that you're trying to pin me down as some jort wearing folk punk kid but I have absolutely no idea how you came to that conclusion... oh yeah. go get face fucked by this album or whatever, idiot.

nedsammy (May 19, 2012)

If that fuck is going to make a pointless list of great HWM songs, he could at least include The Bitter End.

shiftybusiness (May 19, 2012)

While you are thinking up quips and labels like this...

"Mid tempo orgcore pop rock rocks that hard? Jesus fuck, that's pathetic."

....the rest of us are rocking out and having fun with this shit. More folk guitars and short shorts for you...

theproblemwithfire (May 19, 2012)

"This record fucks you in the face."

Mid tempo orgcore pop rock rocks that hard? Jesus fuck, that's pathetic.

This shit is weak.

shiftybusiness (May 19, 2012)

This record fucks you in the face. As far as an HWM record goes, that is debatable. It's not like the old stuff but it's way more exciting than the more recent stuff. Remember that it is not 1997 and people are different now. I'm the same age and it's fun to grow up and move on. More pop and less punk and oi oi oi and stuff.

1776 (May 18, 2012)

Here's my review of the new Pennywise: 2 Stars. Music and singing great, betrayed by laughably bad lyrics.

thekeyboardplayersucks (May 18, 2012)

Thumbs got it right.

Thumbs (May 18, 2012)

1- everything except "Finding The Rhythms"
2- Finding The Rhythms

jrowe182 (May 18, 2012)

Where are reviews for the new Anti-Flag and Pennywise records? 'org is lagging...

Why does Echoblabla even post here?
There's not a band that encapsulates the general tastes of this site like HWM and it has been that way for 10 years now. If you're not happy with that - just leave. There are plenty of places where you can talk about the kind of music you like.

And following my own advice; I don't post here much since I've never really liked HWM, but you have to be a miserable sod to tell people to listen to what you like instead (especially since your list is ridiculously laughable).

thepopeofchili-town (May 18, 2012)

Ugh, can't resist now.

1. Caution
2. The New What Next (Fight me)
3. No Division
4. Fuel For the Hate Game
5. (tie) pretty much everything else
6. Finding the Rhythms

gugl0003 (May 17, 2012)

Yep, this is a Hot Water Music album alright.

Not their best work, but it'll probably be a grower for me. Also, it's still better than Caution. Yeah I said it.

1776 (May 17, 2012)

Not my favorite, but it's still really good. It strikes me as a mature albume by a mature band -- with the good and bad that entails.

levidolphin (May 17, 2012)

Well,,,,, Caution is my favorite. everything else is great and i shouldn't rank them

EchosMyron (May 17, 2012)

FFTHG at number 7? Wow, your record collection must be a riot.

levidolphin (May 17, 2012)

Here is my top list of HWM albums
1 Caution
2 New What Next
3 Forever and Counting
4 No Division
5 Flight & Crash
6 Never Ender
7 Hate Game
8 Exister
9 Till the wheels fall off
10 finding the rhythms
this is not set in stone. I just hope these guys keep making music... HWM is one of my favorite bands that I will never get sick of. No matter how I feel or what mood im in i can always listen to HWM. thank you much love

thepopeofchili-town (May 17, 2012)

Yeah, we get it.

EchosMyron (May 17, 2012)

To all of the hyperbolic idiots calling Exister a "top 10" album of the year, here are ten punk or punk-related albums from the first five months of 2012 which are better than it.

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
Screaming Females - Ugly
Mean Jeans - On Mars
Dan Vapid and the Cheats - S/T
Mind Spiders - S/T
High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
Unsane - Wreck
Torche - Harmonicraft
Ceremony - Zoo
The Sonic Avenues - Television Youth

I haven`t heard the Classics of Love album, but it`s probably better too.

angryderek (May 17, 2012)

The problem with this record is the Wollard songs. Now, i'll qualify this by saying that he wrote the majority of my past favorite HWM songs, but this record is a different story. His efforts here make me think that Chuck called and said "hey, i've got an EP's worth of amazing songs" and Chris said "Fuck it, i'll throw 6 or 7 together tonight and we'll make a full length". His stuff sounds like songs that the Ship Thieves didn't want to jam on at practice or something. i'd LOVE to score this a 5 because i've been waiting for it for so long, but half of it sucks....the wollard half.....To be fair though, the Chuck stuff is incredible, his voice is really peaking after the past few years as a solo dude

desertburst92 (May 17, 2012)

Very good album. For me nothing of theres beats Caution. Definitely on my top 10 list. State of Grace is a killer song though.

jimothygypsum (May 17, 2012)

this website would give HWM a 4/5 if they literally pooped in a jewel case and sold it. this album is bland as fuck and i love the entire catalogue up to this point including the new what next, which i thought was creative and well written. there are maybe 3 good songs on this album. of course its better than a lot of whats out there, a generic HWM song beats a lot but ive come to expect more from these guys. i couldnt give this more than a 2.5/5. its really a 2 but an extra half point just cause they are one of the greatest bands ever. they need to go back to being more influenced by leatherface and fugazi rather than the foo fighters and springsteen, the results were way more interesting

mikexdude (May 16, 2012)

Apparently the Myron says this is generic...generic to what? He then goes on to list a bunch of songs, some of which are as generic as you can get: "No Division" for one is probably the most simple, over done chord progression in punk ever. I love the song but let's be real.

Not into this record though. I am convinced that echos has really no idea what he's talking about, even though he thinks he does.

EchosMyron (May 16, 2012)

Obviously not, as you gave this generic album an 8. But you give out 8s and 9s every week, so it`s not like you`re attempting to come across as a reviewer that has high standards.

thepopeofchili-town (May 16, 2012)

Yeah, we get it.

EchosMyron (May 16, 2012)

Songs that HWM have written which annihilate anything from this album:

Counting Numbers
Better Sense
Rest Assured
Man the Change
220 Years
The Sleeping Fan
Facing and Backing
North and About
Difference Engine
Drunken Third
Moments Pass
Moonpies for Misfits
Southeast First
Free Radio Gainesville
Our Own Way
No Division
Jet Set Ready
Driving Home
You Can Take the Boy Out of Bradenton
Us and Chuck
Sound for Language
Jack of All Trades
Paper Thin
Sunday Suit
In the Gray
One Step to Slip
The Sense
All Heads Down
Keep It Together
Bottomless Seas
This Early Grave

I`ve listened to this album four times already, and with each successive listen am shocked by just how far this band has fallen.

workingclass (May 16, 2012)

Meh. Cant expect much from a band who's last great album was a flight and a crash. This album was way too overhyped. I am going to agree with the one dude and just listen to No Division then Fuel for the Hate Game

nickyno (May 16, 2012)

Although the album fell a tad bit short of my expectations I still think it's a solid top 10 album of the year for me. Chuck really carries this one some of his best songs for HWM in well over 8 years. Paid in Fulls chorus the last time through, when Chuck's voice starts to shake, moves tectonic plates. It's awesome.

levidolphin (May 16, 2012)

fucking love this album. come to OH!!!

Thumbs (May 15, 2012)

Thumbs up!

misterspike (May 15, 2012)

Been waiting for this ever since the "reunion" show in Orlando 4 years ago. The final track, "Paid in Full" makes my throat shred just
listening to it. So glad HWM as a recording entity is back.

655321 (May 15, 2012)

Still waiting for my copy to arrive *sigh*. I got into HWM way late, but I would say that:

Forever and Counting > Fuel For the Hate Game, Caution > The New What's Next, rest

teaessare (May 15, 2012)

Eh. I'm just going to listen to No Division

SloaneDaley (May 15, 2012)

4 good songs, 4 bad songs and 5 meh songs. Okay.

ollywood (May 15, 2012)

Best Punknews joke account as of late: EchosMyron.

oldpunkerforever (May 15, 2012)

Good, certainly not 5 star good, but good-oldpunker-

atomicgarden89 (May 15, 2012)

I personally think this album is on the same level as Caution, A Flight and a Crash and No Division, and that's after only listening to it non-stop for a few days. If you don't like this album, and you think Forever and Counting is their best effort, you should probably go eat a butthole.

paulstrba (May 15, 2012)

Echos -- It is understandable that you do not like the album. Everyone has different tastes; that is what makes us all individuals. Simply berating the majority of users on this site makes all of your opinions that much more less convincing. By the way, regardless of my opinion (which I haven't given), the avclub review is the only negative review I have read thus far.

EchosMyron (May 15, 2012)

The fact that so many people here are giving this generic piece of slog such high grades just goes to show how conservative and unimaginative the taste of the average org user has become.

And here is a REAL review of this album: http://www.avclub.com/articles/hot-water-music-exister,73854/

klipherd (May 15, 2012)

Been on repeat since Friday. 5 stars.

half_head (May 15, 2012)

love it

badbrain (May 15, 2012)

I think there are two types of HWM fans, those who grew up with them and got into them before the Epitaph era will always prefer the pre-Epitaph stuff, and those (like myself) who got into them during the Epitaph era tend to prefer the Epitaph and post Epitaph stuff. I don't dislike the older stuff, but I listen to it far less mostly because I just prefer better production. This album sounds great coming out of my car speakers, as does everything from F&AC onward. I don't like listening to albums that sound like they were recorded in a tin can. I'd probably like all the older stuff better if they re-recorded it and it sounded the way Caution sounds. Plus I grew on on the mid-late 90s EpiFat skatepunk era stuff so I'll always prefer that sort of cleaner sounding production.

I don't equate poor production/"raw" sounding with having more honesty, I just hear it as poorer production and have to adjust the volume on my speakers. I think the best sounding album I've heard in the past couple in terms of production and how "big" it sounds is Calvalcade by the Flatliners, that album sounds great. Seems like the older folks just prefer the older more "raw" sounding stuff and a lot of the younger folks for the most part prefer the newer cleaner-sounding stuff. I don't know.

That was a whole lot of babble. I like this album, not as much as Caution but maybe on par or slightly less than Flight, and a little better than TNWN. It gets better with repeated listens. Paid In Full might be my new favorite HWM song, Chuck's voice is ridiculously awesome in that song.

thisrespirator (May 15, 2012)

Caution = FFTHG > AFAAC > No Division > Forever And Counting > The New What Next > Finding The Rhythms

schaumpton (May 15, 2012)

Will hold me over til the Live in Chicago 3 LP comes out in the fall.

Ballsackky (May 15, 2012)

Got the black vinyl and jacket and belt buckle combo. I'm a walking advertisement for exister and couldn't be more happier.

wallrock (May 15, 2012)

Excellent, simply excellent. I got my pre-order in the mail Saturday and have been spinning it constantly since.

gtodorov (May 15, 2012)

The title song "Exister" is a very good example of a more energetic Wollard. Anyway, the feeling I get from this album is that the NEXT one will be the one to kick everyone's ass. I love Exister, it is a very good reunion record, but its like a football ("soccer") team, the more time they get to spend together, the better will be the next efforts. The same way you need 2 records to make a Fuel for the Hate Game.

killtaker (May 15, 2012)

Really good album. Never thought there would be another HWM record and even more I was worried if it would be good so I am stoked on this. High quality from a band that makes few mistakes.

eatbicycles (May 15, 2012)

There's really never gonna be another song like 220 Years. I don't think humanity could produce that much energy again.

Descendentmark (May 15, 2012)

Pretty kickin album. When I first heard Drag my Body I thought it could or should have been a Chuck solo effort but after a couple listens and hearing Black's bass lines it is a great HWM song. Paid in Full I think has the intensity of Fuel for the Hate Game era, good mix of songs 4 stars here.

ozimate (May 15, 2012)

Good. Not amazing. But that's ok, since everyone who contributed to this album has kept me astonishingly entertained over the last eight years anyway.

danperrone (May 15, 2012)

also, i feel like chris' songs are exceptionally poor this time around.

danperrone (May 15, 2012)

hot watered down music. it's just OK. most of the songs are really, really similar.

BrainTrust (May 15, 2012)

not mindblowing, but definitely good. 4 Stars.

shai (May 15, 2012)

Awesome record !!!

hayman (May 15, 2012)

Awesome, never thought there'd be another HWM record and this doesn't disappoint. Good times.

kursk64 (May 15, 2012)

I can dig it. Near the bottom of the heap in terms of HWM records, but still better than most everything else out there

LeightonESmith (May 15, 2012)

I really shouldn't have had impossibly high expectations.

ozmanx (May 15, 2012)

Hello HWM, it's been awhile.

Blackjaw_ (May 15, 2012)

I've heard of these guys.

killabeez666 (May 15, 2012)

I'm stoked on it. Might be my best of 2012.

ak3punk (May 15, 2012)

Honestly, did we expect anything less? We all knew it would be this good.

multiayler (May 15, 2012)

It's great, definitely does not disappoint!

Michael_Berryman (May 15, 2012)

score is for the jacket. record's not too shabby either.

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