When I saw on the FrontPage that Give Up the Ghost broke up, I wasn't too happy. With Hope Conspiracy's long legal influenced hiatus, my hardcore world has been a bit empty. Enter with such a force that it makes me want to cry tears of joy, Bars.
Featuring the screams of Kevin Baker (Hope Conspiracy), the guitars of Tim Cossar (Give Up the Ghost), and the maniac that is Jarrod Alexander (ex-Death by Stereo, but more importantly, Suicide File - damn, I miss that band) along with a couple of other hardcore guys filling up the other guitar and bass, Bars are a hardcore heavyweight that the world has never seen before.
The opening track off Introducing… "Bright Lights For Demise" starts off fast and furiously, properly dictating the pace of most of the album to come. It features some excellent genre bending guitar riffs with some of the solos reminiscent of the rock and roll influenced styling of Suicide File. Baker has a scream destined for hardcore, and he is perfectly complimented by the rest of the band. The drums don't just simply rely on double bass or constant crash cymbals, the guitars are doing more than simply chugging along, and the bass follows splendidly. At only 29 minutes, the boys of The Bars do not waste anytime with fancy intros, outros, or mindless filler. Introducing… is a lethal barrage of stripped down rock and roll that never decides if it is hardcore, hardcore punk, or metal.
However, they don't really need to decide anything. Many of the guitar hooks are subtle little ones that almost get drowned out by the subtle touches from all the other musicians. "Up To My Neck" features some excellent guitar work, but most of it doesn't take center stage until Cossar launches into a little simple guitar solo that leads into an excellent finish to the song. Other songs like "Toecutter" plod along with the weight of the world on their shoulders. It slowly beats along with Baker screaming "day by day by day/take us to the grave/day by day by day/how can I be saved?" There isn't much special about the song and one of the few instrumental outros on the album is well suited to the song as it plows along and fades into nothingness.
But just as quickly as it fades, "The Frequencies are Fucked" comes blistering in with fast paced hardcore punk/hardcore that relentlessly batters you back into a frenzy. The way in which Bars are able to make these transitions is fantastic. Each song is no longer than it should be and the album manages to flow completely through despite the genre shifting throughout its entirety. This slow and steady to loud and heavy shift is more evident in the transition between the last two tracks on the album, each at over four minutes.
With Introducing… The Bars have made quite the album. Even with all the slight genre bending that takes place, these guys truly are a hardcore band, as their place on the Equal Vision roster might suggest. Fans that mourn the loss of Suicide File, Give Up the Ghost, and (to a certain degree) the Hope Conspiracy as I do have to drop everything and check these guys out. This album has done a better job of staying in my stereo more than anything other new band I have listened to lately.