Upon losing a vocalist, most bands either break up or start playing under a new name. If a band dares to continue on with a new vocalist, they could potentially tarnish their past and alienate most of their fanbase. Or, as a giant middle finger to all the doubters, they could breathe new life into the band by recording what is far and away their best album. With Broadcasting..., Comeback Kid accomplish the latter in spades.
Broadcasting... opens with "Defeated," which starts with a lone guitar riff before exploding into an abrasive, almost confrontational tone. The chorus of this song is absolutely HUGE and the gang vocals contained therein sound as if they were recorded by approximately fifty screaming hardcore kids.Â Devastatingly heavy breakdowns are highlights in the next two tracks, "Broadcasting..." and "Hailing on Me." Breakdowns are so overused nowadays when a band can utilize one correctly and not overdo it it's almost startling. Comeback Kid keep them relatively short, which adds to the ferocity and keeps from stunting the momentum of the songs around which they're built. "The Blackstone" is one of, if the not the best song Comeback Kid have ever put to tape. The heavy intro and yelled vocals remind this reviewer of a certain Victory hardcore band of years gone by. However, if that weren't awesome enough, one blast beat later the song morphs into a bonafide thrash beast, complete with blindingly quick riffing and drumming before reversing course again. And although much less pronounced than on 2005's Wake the Dead, melodic hardcore influences are still present, especially in "Industry Standards" and "Give'r (Reprise)," the latter barely breaking the one-minute mark. These rapid style changes continue throughout the remainder of the album, and while some bands who attempt this end up releasing disheveled, inconsistent material, the songs on Broadcasting... are so strong nothing sounds stale here.
As for new vocalist Andrew Neufeld, his voice works well in the confines of these songs. His delivery is slightly closer to a scream than Scott Wade's, but fortunately he's decipherable most of the time. Alluded to earlier, it's the backing music that makes Broadcasting... the behemoth it is. Even though they could have easily wrote another competent melodic hardcore album like Wake the Dead, the band really stepped up to the plate and challenged themselves for this recording and their efforts will be vindicated.
With Broadcasting..., Comeback Kid dip into several subgenres of punk and metal (doing it in the course of one song a lot of the time) yet produce their strongest and most cohesive record to date. And speaking of production, is there anyone better than Bill Stevenson right now? The production on Broadcasting... is perfect, making the band sound huge when the song calls for it and scaling it back ever so slightly when needed. Even though their sound has evolved into something new and exciting, and there's a new guy yelling the words, it's still Comeback Kid and there's really no reason for fans to not embrace this new incarnation with open arms and clenched fists in the air.