Four years. 48 months. 1461 days. 35,064 hours. 2,103,840 minutes. 126,230,400 seconds. That is very roughly how long it has been since Bane destroyed the scene with their powerful anthems and an unmatched energy and knowledge of what hardcore is. In that short 126,230,400 seconds, the scene has seen a huge change. Metalcore bands populate the earth and their legions of fans don make-up and wear pants too short for them in an effort to fit into a scene almost as ridiculous as their get-up. Those of us that felt the scene was dying have seen a turnaround in the past couple years, and the second coming has now arrived. The new Bane album The Note has arrived to bring the world to its knees in a blast of feverish energy.
Listening to Bane has always felt like being hit in the face with a huge bag of bricks. Aaron Bedard failed vocal lessons. The guitars punish you with an unforgiving brutality, slowly building up into a supernova of noise throughout every song. This is Bane. They aren't out to make new fans, and The Note shows that. It has been four years, and the band has aged and matured, and the new album shows it.
The Note opens with the powerfully quick "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda," an anthem for the straight-edge kids where Bedard criticizes what it has become but why he is still in it. The song sounds like it is straight off of Give Blood, slowly building up to an explosion behind a driving dual guitar harmony that peaks with about 30 seconds left into a phenomenal harness of rage and energy. Like many of their other songs, "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" is designed to make the kids go crazy live, but the studio version doesn't disappoint whatsoever.
There are obvious signs of maturing throughout the album from their last efforts. Where as in Give Blood the band rarely slowed down the frantic pace and instead just destroyed the eardrums with a short and concise blast of thrash under a half hour, The Note shows that Bane has learned to harness the slow build-up even better than before. "Pot Committed" takes a few seconds off for a very calmed stroke of guitars, bass, and light cymbal tapping. It slowly builds up into methodical increase of noise, with a slow and steady beat, never really taking off like it used to in the old days, but the heart is still there.
At times it may seem like age is finally slowing Aaron and the boys down, but six of the songs fall under three minutes and drive along before you even notice they started up. Unfortunately, because of this, the album is a bit shorter than I would hope, but I'll come back to that later. It has been four years, but Bane still shows they know how to destroy the world in record time. The Note at many times is like a halfway progression from Give Blood. Sometimes it seems like the band has evolved into a slower and tenser version in songs like "End With An Ellipsis," but just as quickly they fire back with songs like "My Therapy," ending with the gang vocals screaming about how hardcore saved their lives.
Anyone that has seen Bane live knows what hardcore means to Aaron. The greatest thing about them has been their brutal honesty to a scene and a world that generally needs to be slapped in the face with reality. I don't think I am going out on a limb to call Bedard one of the more creative songwriters of our generation, and this album doesn't disappoint. "Wasted On The Young" is one of the more brutally honest songs I have heard in a long time and I can think of more than a handful of people it applies to. One-liners like "It's like having your mom pick out your clothes for you," "There is no mistake that I'm not free to make / all because of six strings / stretched across a board" and "When Armageddon's been locked and loaded / I will come back for you."
So, it has been four years. Although I can't get enough of this album right now, one of my biggest complaints is how short it is. At less than half an hour, it is over almost too soon. The Note flows fantastically, but after such a long absence of new material, I had hoped for more. Still, with what Bane has given us this time around, The Note shows a more aged and grizzled version of the band that slays everything. But the energy is still there. The passion is still there. Most of all, the heart is still there, and that already is more than they can say about most bands around.
[originally written for readysteadyjedi.com]