Back When - In the Presence (Cover Artwork)

Back When

Back When: In the PresenceIn the Presence (2006)
Initial Records

Reviewer Rating: 4

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

Init Records is one of the main labels quietly putting out solid releases without any real attention or accolades. It's a shame, but I feel that a label with as many quality releases as Init has had will not be flying so low under the radar for long. One band that could certainly speed that process .

Init Records is one of the main labels quietly putting out solid releases without any real attention or accolades. It's a shame, but I feel that a label with as many quality releases as Init has had will not be flying so low under the radar for long. One band that could certainly speed that process along is Back When, an incredibly talented four-piece that calls to mind such genre heavyweights as Engineer and Buried Inside.

Fortunately, Back When is not a retread or carbon copy of either of those, and the collection titled In the Presence should go a long way to solidify their niche in the world of heavy music. This record amasses tracks from several 7"s, demos and remixes to put forth half an hour's worth of churning and explosive music that's as heavy as it is dynamic.

Like the two previously mentioned bands, Back When rely heavily on crescendo. It's all about the buildup and the expectation. The brooding destruction, that's pensive at first, slowly coming out of the shell and increasing in volume, until finally released in a torrent of crunching riffs and guttural screams that shake the very foundation of everything that helped build it up to that point. Every aspect of every song works toward the inevitable climax that pays off the six or seven minutes spent listening in the first place. And though it's by no means a revolutionary formula, I'd be a liar if I tried to deny the impact or the gravity that it holds.

The best testament to this approach of songwriting is to point out when it works, and on "We Giveth and We Taketh," it works flawlessly. As these songs often do, it begins delicately enough, with the ominous plucking of some extremely low-tuned strings, until out of nowhere there's an eruption.

That eruption is the deep and devastating vocals that appear all over this record, reeking nothing short of havoc with the power they possess. On their own, formidable enough, but when accompanying the deep pound of the bass drum and deeper grooves of the bass guitar, it's an unstoppable and unrelenting combination. Offset only slightly by the hint of melody in those chords, the band trudges through all seven minutes of the track, picking up steam along the way, slowing only briefly to add to the ominous feel of impending devestation set in the first 30 seconds of the track. It's far from the only instance of this kind of songwriting, but it's the best example, and it's what works.

The only thing remotely capable of slowing these guys down is their own penchant for creating mystique, for creating a buildup that makes the payoff all the more powerful. They have it down to a finely tuned craft.


People who liked this also liked:
Alexisonfire - CrisisPansy Division - The Essential Pansy Division [CD/DVD]Burial Year - PestilenceBalboa / Nitro Mega Prayer - SplitAs Hope Dies - As Hope DiesThe First Step - What We KnowHaunted Life / Make or Break - SplitDead Hearts - Bitter VersesPath of Resistance - Can't Stop the TruthJustice - Justice

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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.
SilentStorms (January 26, 2007)

Seri? Fuck I was looking at the release dates that I have seen on other websites, but still those guys were blamazing. Too bad!

m-oo (January 25, 2007)

Duh Bam Maggera isnt in this band either!

Anonymous (January 25, 2007)

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but EXAM did break up in 2003. "The Whitest of Elephants," their last album, was recorded in 2002 and released in 2003. They toured quite frequently and have all gone their separate ways since breaking up. Dustin has gone on to do a solo project called FATHER^ and another project with Jon of Back When called He Do the Policeman in Different Voices. Dan and Tim play in a fantastic new band called Smoke and Mirrors which also features a member of the Blinding Light. Tanner plays in Across Tundras.

links to their new projects:
www.myspace.com/ acrosstundras


SilentStorms (January 24, 2007)

Oops, I mean Lady in the Radiator came in 2005. Score is for me being a moron.

SilentStorms (January 24, 2007)

I'm not sure that's right considering We Are the Architects came out in 2005 and The Whitest Elephant came out in 2006. I'm not denying they broke up - but it certainly hasn't been years.

Anonymous (January 24, 2007)

hate to break it to you, but EXAM has been broken up for years now

SilentStorms (January 23, 2007)

Ever since I heard Swords Against The Father I've been obsessed with these guys. The double vinyl that came out on Shock Value was stunning. If anyone likes these guys you'll love The Examination of the ... as they have some of the same members. Although lately EXAM has been getting slower and slower, but their first two releases sounded like Usurp Synapse meets Back When. Please tour Canada. Oh and the Jerome's Dream cover was fantastic.

Anonymous (January 23, 2007)

fucking great band. good friends of mine who deserve to be way huger than they are.

denbez (January 23, 2007)

See them live. Oh my God.

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