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Rival Schools - United By Fate (Cover Artwork)

Rival Schools

Rival Schools: United By FateUnited By Fate (2001)
Island Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: BrendanBrendan
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"United By Fate" walks a very dangerous line in underground music: the fine line between making a really well-produced, awesome sounding post-hardcore/post-emo record and making a cheesy, very major-label radio rock record. For background (and those keeping score), this is the new album by New .
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"United By Fate" walks a very dangerous line in underground music: the fine line between making a really well-produced, awesome sounding post-hardcore/post-emo record and making a cheesy, very major-label radio rock record.

For background (and those keeping score), this is the new album by New York hardcore legend Walter Schreifels. He was the principle player and guitarist in Gorilla Biscuits, and formed and fronted the legendary Quicksand as well as produced and basically wrote the first CIV album, "Set Your Goals" (read: the good one). The other three members, Sam Siegler, Cache Tolman, and Ian Love are also part of the incestuous New York hardcore scene, with each of them playing in many notable bands (Judge, Shelter, GB, CIV, Youth of Today, etc.) before.

However, don't expect anything hardcore. Don't expect to hear anything that sounds like Quicksand either. "United By Fate" is melodic, driving, and catchy post-hardcore. Start by thinking Hot Water Music with cleaner vocals. Add some cool dual guitar play, but then produce the hell out of it so it sounds like something off the new Fuel album. "Used for Glue" and "Travel By Telephone" are two perfect examples.

But then RS can dip into some more expressive territory. For more comparisons, "So Down On" is akin to early Weezer, "World Invitational" cruises with a reggae bassline, and "High Acetate" could have been a Nirvana song.

However, this is not to accuse Rival Schools of being too comercial. Unfortunately, the trend of studio tinkering and the layers upon layers of guitars and vocals makes one yearn for the days when punk bands would get into the studio, plug in, and destroy.

"United By Fate" suffers not because the songs are bad--far from it--but that it tries to be TOO good. The album is interesting from top to bottom, but the production makes it sound like all the other post-emo/hardcore bands coming to the scene via Victory, Vagrant, and Epitaph.

 

 
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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.
Kursk (August 8, 2006)

oh yeah, a 10

Kursk (August 8, 2006)

the CD is incredible! I remember my senior year in high school I almost exclusively listened to 3 then new albums: Thrice's "The Illusion of Safety," Rocket From The Crypt's "Group Sounds," and this. This is VERY well produced catchy post hardcore/ alt rock (what did you expect with an Island Records budget). I love every song on this CD, in my book this is a modern classic, as good as Quicksand in it's own different ways. I just recently excavated this CD in my collection and thought I would look for a review....

treos (August 3, 2006)

This cd seems boring because it really doesnt fit into any of the "punk genres" its not emo or pop or anything its just rock and thats old stuff to everybody. Not a bad cd though

bemused (July 22, 2002)

Whoops, discard my rating below. That's obviously a typo. Here's what I really believe

bemused (July 22, 2002)

I disagree with this review. If anything the album suffers from not being good enough. It certainly has its hi-points but overall the songs are too long and plain boring at times. That style of singing also can grow tiresome when the singer thinks he is better than he truly is. Overall not bad, but nothing worth raving on about like many fanzines are at present.

Anonymous (August 20, 2001)

It suffers from being 'too good'? What the fuck kind of review is that? Too good? Oh, its bad because its just too good. How about 'I hate this album not because its bad but because its not not bad, but too much'.

Not to nitpick, but cmon, you have usage of the english language, I dont want to be told a record is bad because it tries to be 'too good' like a lightbulb is going to go off in my head as if I know what the hell that means. I hope the new Bad religion record is bad because it tries to be 'too good'. Most people just take it as being a good record.

Anyway, its a great record. Walter cometh. Not at all what i thought it would sound like, pleasantly suprised.

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