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Stretch Arm Strong - Engage (Cover Artwork)

Stretch Arm Strong

Stretch Arm Strong: EngageEngage (2003)
Solid State Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: TheProblemWithFireTheProblemWithFire
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I first heard of Stretch Arm Strong around 1998 off of a Tooth and Nail compilation that featured their song ??Second Chances'. I was really into bands like MxPx, Green Day, and the Descendents, but I dug the song. It was punk, but the singer screamed at me. But it had a sense of melody too. I didn't know what to think and it wasn't until not too long ago that I purchased their 2001 release A Revolution Transmission (an album that any fan of punk/hardcore should own) and have since been following the band religiously.

So, naturally, when Engage came out on August 19th, I ran to my local record store to pick it up. They didn't have it. So I ordered it and came back a week later. I was a little disappointed with the packaging- (I liked the digi-pack styling used for Transmission, but it was nothing I couldn't live without..) the artwork was done nicely and the disc was enhanced with special features. I popped the disc in, and was pleased the second the drums started pounding, the guitars started buzzing and vocalist Christ McLane began belting out SAS's usual positive lyrics, "Race, religion, sex and creed, we're all the same when we bleed". ??Rising Again' started off with the clean vocals of guitarist/singer David Sease and then burst out into mosh worthy sound that Stretch Arm Strong does so perfectly. Towards the end of the song, there's a nice trade off of singing and screaming between Sease and McLane.

Miles Apart is the first song on the disc that, *gasp*, has no screaming. McLane actually sings on this "love" song. I had heard that there would be more singing on this disc, and so far I was not let down. Miles Apart sounds like a song that would be radio-friendly. There's even a nice little part thrown in there by Thursday vocalist Geoff Rickly. Tracks like Black Clouds (they will be shooting a video for this song) and The Calling have more of a punk rock feel to them. The screaming is little to non-existent on these tracks, which may be a turn off to some hardcore fans. The Calling has a few "Hey Hey Hey's" thrown in, and has a nice chorus part to it at the end that serves as a follow up to Transmission's 'For the Record' about the fan-band connection in hardcore music, "Every where around the world, every boy and every girl. It's in our blood, it's in our soul. No matter your age".

The CD ends with a very cool cover of NWA's 'Express Yourself" that integrates some hip hop with hardcore. Engage features several guest spots, and the only guest vocals that come to mind that don't seem to blend well with Stretch Arm Strong's sound and McLane's vocals are the growls of Jason Shevchuk on the track, 'Ignition', but overall, the guest vocals on Engage aren't over the top or detracting from the song.

The lyrical content on Engage remains positive, in the vein of their last releases and the music is still intense, powerful, and fast. In terms of how this album sounds, it's sounds like a mix of both Transmission and Rituals in life; there are plenty of pop/punk/hardcore sounds, and lots of chugga-chugga mosh riffs. People who expected another Revolution Transmission will be let down; this is a stripped down album and the band has said that themselves. This is a plug-and-play recording of an intense band. Did I mention that Engage is enhanced? There's a nice compilation of tour footage put to several tracks from their previous album.

I wouldn't say this is Stretch Arm Strong's best CD, and if I were to recommend anything by this band it would be A Revolution Transmission or even Rituals of Life. Despite that, this is a strong release from a band that has been together since 1993. All members of the band have quit their jobs (two of them were school teachers) and have set out on tour in support of this record, with hopes of making SAS their full-time job. If you're a fan of hardcore/punk music and like bands like H20, Black Flag, and Hatebreed, or just a lover of east coast influenced hardcore with punk sensibilities, then do yourself a favor and check out Stretch Arm Strong.

 

 
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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.
Anonymous (November 3, 2004)

wonderful positve melodic hardcore!

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

One of the biggests waste of time and money, ever. The only redeeming quality that this CD of nothing but sorry-ass, tired HC cliches has is the track with jason Shevchuck, and even there he's the fucking star, not the SAS guy. I can't even get anyone to buy this album back, not even shit record stores. It's that bad. Don't waste your time, buy a Gorilla Biscuits or Scream album before you waste your time with Stretch Arm Strong.

Anonymous (March 11, 2004)

Stretch Armstrong will be playing shows before they head out at the warped tour. As far as dates i dont know them but Phoenix, AZ, Dallas, Tx, and San Antonio, Tx are confirmed. There are about 30 other dates. Between the buried and Me, and Terror are confirmed for the opening slots. Check Betweentheburiedandme.com for dates.

Anonymous (March 3, 2004)

I dont know how to post this but if somebody does that would be great. If nobody knows, the boys from S.A.S will be playing the first 2 weeks of the Warped Tour 2004. Those are the bottom dates:

6/25 Houston, Tx
6/26 Dallas, Tx
6/27 San Antonio, Tx
6/29 Las Cruces, NM
6/30 Phoenix, Az
7/1&7/2 Los Angelas, Ca
7/3 San Francisco, Ca
7/4 Las Vegas, Nv
7/6 San Diego, Ca
7/7 Ventura, Ca
7/8 Sacramento, Ca
7/9 Nampa, ID
7/10 Seattle, Wa
7/11 Portland, Or
As far as venues, you have to check on it. DJC:for plagerizing purposes

Anonymous (January 31, 2004)

Its not as hardcore as I was expecting...like a lot of people have said, its not that great compared to A Revolution Transmission, but it was still pretty good. Not kick ass, but still good.

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

to heidi!!!(->EMO4EVER:))
right on you've got that PMA
lukas (lifetime4ever)

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

Stretch fucks shit up...I like their new CD, it's definitely more straight forward than Revolution. I like the punker songs, and most of them still have screaming. My favorite song on the album in Raise Your Fist, that song rules live.

If you want to hear five songs from the album go here:

http://www.solidstaterecords.com/stretcharmstrong/ecard/ ecard.html

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

the lyrics come off of as more christian because the person who writes most of it is christian. That doesn't mean they are a christian band. only two members are christian.

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

Here's to the moron below. Stretch Arm Strong guitarist Scott Dempsy answered the following to a question asked by an interviewer at InStrife.com (http://www.instrife.com/interviews/stretcharmstrong-08052000.php )

*Is the band straightedge, vegan, christian, etc.?

*"no the band is neither of those things as a whole but each of us partake in some of the above listed. we have christians, vegans, vegetarians, meat eater, straight edgers, non straight edgers..... we hate being labeled. a lot of people mistake us for a christian band cause we are on solidstate but we aren't and never were and never pretended we were. it seems some people are disappointed when the find out we aren't. it goes the other way as well. people don't like us sometimes cause they think we are. who cares. we love playing music. we are 5 friends who put everything on the line for this band and what we believe. does it reall matter what we believe in. sorry to go off with this question but it really just irritates me when people diss bands because of what they are are what they aren't. i though hardcore was a place where we could all be accepted. at least that is what i thought it was...."

Right from the mouth of Stretch Arm Strong.

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

All music is emotional is one way or another, but usually the "emo" term is applied to bands who write middle-school age lyrics about how sad they are. These lyrics usually include the words: slit, wrists, douse in gasoline, broken heart, cry, sad, poop, vagina.

Now let me skim through my Stretch Arm Strong CDs...

Hmmm. I found songs full of emotion about friends, equality, passion to play music, love, and frustration but nothing cliche that belongs on a senses fail CD.

Anonymous (September 23, 2003)

Read some fucking interviews, they're not a Christian band, dip shit.

Go to www.yahoo.com or www.google.com and search for Stretch Arm Strong interviews. Find the countless ones where they say "We're not a Christian band" and then come back here and sound like a jack ass some more.

Yes, I know they play Cornerstone and other Christian festivals. So what? Like I said, a couple members ARE Christians. SAS is a group of very nice people who play any shows they are offered. "Christian" setting or not. Their lyrics are positive, and that's something people of any belief can embrace.

urthetragicloss (September 22, 2003)

when i said emo/hard core stuff, i wasnt really talking about just sas i was talkign about it all dead poetic, demon hunter, few left standing, extol, still breathing, norma jean, all the christian screaming hard emo stuff

urthetragicloss (September 22, 2003)

stretch arm strong is a christian band i can tell by there lyrics ok so they dont say god in there lyrics strait out but its implied in alot of there songs and also in north carolina there is a big christian concert with bands from all around (kinda like warped tour) and stretch arm strong is there like every year

second im dyslexic and i have a bad key board im sorry for the spelling errors i do my best

emo is not, oh i slit my wrist shit,oh i have tight jeans and an emo cut thats all sterotype, thats not what emo is . emo comes from the heart with an intention, and alot of it ,emo that is, is emo to the person listning to it if it touches someone emotinal its emo to them and listning to this music touches me yeah im done

-heidi

Anonymous (September 22, 2003)

I was dissapinoted when i heard this album. I love Stretch but this is definitely not as good as Revoluton or Rituals.

TheProblemWithFire (September 21, 2003)

For the record:

Stretch Arm Strong isn't an "emo" (in terms of From Autumn to Ashes/Senses Fail/Static Lullaby) "hardcore emo screamo" trend band. No "Slit my wrists, I'm gonna cry, I'm so heart broken" lyrics here.

Stretch Arm Strong isn't a Christian band. Yes, they are on a label that is known for its Christian bands. Yes, the singer and the drummer are Christians (I don't know about the other guys-I know not everyone in the band is Christian)

Last, you could learn how to spell, Heidi.

Anonymous (September 21, 2003)

i have just recently gotten into sas anda all teh emo/hard core christian stuff and im really liking it stretch arm strong is a really good band i have not heard any of the revelution , transmition stuff yet but i did by engaged and i really like it ill have to go get there old stuff since u guys say this beter then this

-heidi

Anonymous (September 20, 2003)

i'm not sure about this cd iwant to like it but its just not clicken

Edgie (September 19, 2003)

While I also think that Rituals of Life is the best out of all their CDs, Engage is still great with a lot of awesome songs on it. Their poppier stuff really isn't bad; it just.. isn't them, and isn't what most of us have come to expect, I think. It really does grow on you though, and soon you'll be singing along even to Black Clouds and Miles Apart. Great CD.

toma (September 19, 2003)

i almost picked up this album the other day but then i went to wal-mart and saw unicron there so i bought that instead.

MikeRiot (September 19, 2003)

Engage is great.

Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

I loved a revolution and will pick this on up too, when I can fuckin find the thing. Distro to Canada seems to be just plain horrible these days.

Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

the nwa cover is on a comp titled "too legit for the pit." its all hc bands doing rap covers,its actuallt quite good.you can buy it from revhq.com

Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

Haha ok "punkcorekid".Im not dissagreeing with you, just laughing at your ridiculous user name.

punkcorekid (September 19, 2003)

Rituals of Life is way better than Revolution or Engage

Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

I love Stretch Arm Strong... the CD is good... not their best... Revolution is just an amazing record, it'll take a lot to beat that one. support these guys, they do it for the kids.

Curt

Find their old version of Express Yourself... it's a lot better.

inagreendase (September 19, 2003)

That reminds me of my friend's teacher, who plays in an LIHC band and goes to a lot of shows. It's so weird to be watching videos online, or even at shows, your teacher in his track jacket and flattened hair rockin' out.

Anonymous (September 19, 2003)

ack, i'm a huge fan of "a revolution transmission," hell, it helped me get into hardcore a couple of years back. but this album really lacks most of the energy that SAS put forth on their past albums, and comes across sounding more like a weak collection of songs that were cut from other albums or something. there are so many average tracks on this cd, and only the song with only ignition exciting me at all.

they could have done so much better.

awaitingyes (September 19, 2003)

good review, but i wasn't too excited when i heard this cd. kind of disappointed.

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