Paint It Black - Amnesia [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

Paint It Black

Paint It Black: Amnesia [7 inch]Amnesia [7 inch] (2009)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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

I finally got my Bridge 9 package yesterday, picking it up from the local pharmacy the day after it was supposedly brought to my apartment by a mailman or -woman unable to wake me up with basic doorbell technology. A note was left. Tomorrow, after 1 p.m., it said. I made plans to be available. As.
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I finally got my Bridge 9 package yesterday, picking it up from the local pharmacy the day after it was supposedly brought to my apartment by a mailman or -woman unable to wake me up with basic doorbell technology. A note was left. Tomorrow, after 1 p.m., it said. I made plans to be available.

As I wove through the sun and the Canada Day crowds, package in hand, on my way home, I started thinking about Paint It Black's history. Which is a lie, but it allows me to segue nicely into some useful background information. After putting out the almost insanely short -- 17 songs in 18 minutes -- CVA in 2003, which I recall Dan Yemin saying made him feel good because he could write fully-realized melodic hardcore songs that much shorter than the next guy's, they pretty much had nowhere to go but up, song length-wise. Hence 2005's 14-songs-in-21-minutes Paradise, which, until yesterday, stood uncontested in my mind as their best work. Gone were much of the positivity and humo(u)r present in snatches on CVA. It was darker, grittier, angrier and lyrically dealt overwhelmingly with U.S. politics rather than scene politics.

While these trends worked wonders for Paradise, I felt PIB took them too far on 2008's 15-songs-in-30-minutes New Lexicon, to the detriment of what made CVA so good -- the melodic element. On paper, the album looked unstoppable. It was a whole lot more Paint It Black than we'd ever gotten before. They promised a bassier, Bad Brains-ier tone. They hooked up with producer Oktopus to screw with the songs, introducing a hip-hop element to the production in much the same way Yemin has admitted to looking to rap for inspiration in the rhythm and internal rhymes of his lyrics, which, to my mind, stand out as some of the best in hardcore, modern or otherwise.

Somehow, though, the final product was kind of underwhelming. Admittedly, the album had its moments. "Past Tense, Future Perfect" is classic PIB, "We Will Not"'s haunting background melody exemplified how a song could benefit from outside production, and "Shell Game Redux" proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that Paradise's "Memorial Day" was no fluke of an epic album-closer. But too many songs failed to grab on a very visceral level the way past Paint It Black had -- and it hardly helped that they had left one of the best tracks, "Goliath," off the album completely.

It was with a heavy heart, then, that I listened to the MySpace stream of Amnesia's opening track, "Salem," a few weeks ago. Here was Paint It Black coming to the logical conclusion of the CVA --> Paradise --> New Lexicon shift. Anger: supercharged. Melody: gone. Catchiness: nil. Not a goddamn chorus in sight. Dr. Dan seemed to be yelling so hard that by the end of the song, he had actually developed a lisp (seriously). Had the band I knew and loved so much finally turned into an unlovable monster? After faithfully pre-ordering the 7" EP from Bridge Nine, along with a sweet Horsebites-designed PIB T-shirt, I downloaded Amnesia and started to listen.

My initial reaction was that here we had three pretty good songs ("Homesick," "Nicotine," "Amnesia") sounding somewhere between CVA and Paradise, sandwiched between a song that made all of New Lexicon sound like effeminate power-pop in comparison ("Salem"), and a song that was both longer and poppier than the rest of their catalogue by a wide margin ("Bliss"). PIB had found sonic success in the past when filtering other genres through their particular strain of hardcore -- I'm looking at you, amazing Joy Division bit in "365" -- and "Bliss" is no exception. At 3:32, it's a full minute longer than the longest proper song on New Lexicon, and still longer than any of the static-enhanced tracks, to boot. It's a serious departure, but they pull it off with aplomb -- it's the best song on the EP. All in all, I thought, a reasonably satisfying release; much better than New Lexicon, anyway.

Then I put the needle down on the actual physical copy of the 7" (I got the grey version). When "Salem" kicked in, I completely forgot that I disliked the song. I literally started hardcore dancing in my living room. Dr. Dan was talking all this jibber-jabber in interviews about how the 7" is the ideal hardcore format...well, now I understand him. The vinyl-versus-mp3 difference was like night and day. Every time Side B ended, I was convinced I was done, but no. I needed more. I listened to the damn thing three and a half times in the span of 45 minutes! It was with a heavy heart, then, that I finally put it to bed for the day, worried that I was severely testing my neighbours' patience.

So let me break it down for all you e-jockeys and cyber-surfers: Screw a download. Do yourselves a favo(u)r and purchase the real, physical version of Amnesia. It is straight-up unfuckwithable.


People who liked this also liked:
Paint It Black - Surrender [7 inch]Dear Landlord - Dream HomesPaint It Black - New LexiconShook Ones - The Unquotable A.M.H.Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyThe Flatliners - CavalcadePropagandhi - Supporting CasteDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RAmerican Steel - Dear Friends and Gentle HeartsBanner Pilot - Collapser

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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.
devianter (December 31, 2010)

there's nothing wrong with mp3. don't speak if you don't know how shit works. buy some decent speakers first and don't listen to that shitty speakers in your monitor. and stop saying oh my god i got the difference between mp3 and vinyl every now and then.

niksin (December 28, 2009)

I don't know if I'm missin some kind of vital detail here or there but this review said Paint It Black released a track called Goliath? That's pro, where the hell is it? Goliath sounds like it'd be a killer song.

danpib08 (December 28, 2009)

Bridge 9 got way better of the deal, Amnesia is awesome. I love this band with all my heart but Surrender does nothing for me. Pink Slip still makes me want to destroy the room I am in and Past Tense, Future Perfect is the great song ever.

thornsoflife (August 18, 2009)

this record was fucking fantastic, looking forward to their release on fat wreck.

theclassybass (July 20, 2009)

great review. This 7" put my faith back into PIB. New Lexicon wasn't bad, but, it wasn't really that good either. This is taking it back to the CVA sound and that's the PIB that everyone knows.

Grue (July 20, 2009)

I liked Salem and Bliss, but the 3 other tracks are forgettable.

LinoleumMagazine (July 20, 2009)

This is really good. I think this type of music almost works better on a 7" format. Short and sweet.

brandonsideleau (July 19, 2009)

I don't see why everyone is complaining about how heavy this record is...it fits their sound perfectly....and 'Salem' couldn't be more perfect- lyrically and sonically...I don't think I've ever heard Dan's voice do that before and I hope it happens more often. I've been waiting for a song like that for a very long time. Hopefully 'Surrender' has something just as aggressive.

SloaneDaley (July 19, 2009)

this is probably my second favourite PiB release after Paradise. Can't wait for the EP on Fat.

thirtyseconds (July 19, 2009)

Nice review too. I think it's important to put this release in context, which you did interestingly.

thirtyseconds (July 19, 2009)

Ugh. I'm tired of hearing about formats.

As for the music, for me, this is the first time that a PiB release has not beaten the last. But as it's an EP, that's kinda not fair.

"Homesick" is one of the best songs they have ever done in my opinion.

The EP is good Paint It Black, but I turn to New Lexicon first.

SloaneDaley (July 19, 2009)

The words "I" and "my" should never appear in any review of anything to this degree. Lester Bangs and HS Thompson are long gone.

Intentionally restraining yourself from using "my" and I" is some middle school shit, don't listen to this sandy vag. Next time I'd suggest switching into an alter ego mid-review.

mattramone (July 19, 2009)

Other than "Bliss" this was a little too metal-y for me.

Misanthropee (July 19, 2009)

The words "I" and "my" should never appear in any review of anything to this degree. Lester Bangs and HS Thompson are long gone.

spec (July 18, 2009)

yes punker001, Paradise is that good. This is awesome as well.

quicksandfan (July 18, 2009)

Great album. I'm not so into "salem" as I am with the rest of the songs, but still an awesome release.

punker001 (July 18, 2009)

Are you people serious? Cant believe everyone loves Paradise so much. I love this band but it's the only cd they've done that really bores me and all my Hardcore friends agree. CVA number 1 New Lexicon a close 2nd then this e.p.

MN_punkmaster-skaman (July 18, 2009)

Can't wait for the 2nd 7" on Fat this August.

brandonsideleau (July 17, 2009)

'Salem' is the Paint It Black's best song if you ask me........and I love all of their stuff.

magic-pig_detective (July 17, 2009)

score is for the mission of burma reference on bliss

TommyPickles (July 17, 2009)


jamespastepunk (July 17, 2009)

The following things are true:

Record's great.
Salem's lyrics are on point but kind of one dimensional, which is not something I expect from Dr. Yemin.
Also, Paradise's humor comes at the end of the songs with stuff like "Do you want it that manly? That's gonna get somebody pregnant!"
Homesick gives me chills: Instead of 'Welcome Home' you looked at me and said 'How's this gonna end? Holy shit...

mikeva (July 17, 2009)

good record. nice rebound from the slight letdown although still good new lexicon. bliss is one of the best songs they've ever written.

just curious, what hardcore dance moves did you bust out?

Blackjaw_x (July 17, 2009)

Well I just don't like the band at all, not just that album.

LawnDay (July 17, 2009)

What's wrong with the lyrics?

sleepwalker (July 17, 2009)

Did that many people really not like New Lexicon? PIB has easily gotten better with each album. Amnesia is no exception. "Salem" loses half a star for the lyrics though.

Great review too.

LawnDay (July 17, 2009)

I'm afraid I too am a weirdo.

Blackjaw_x (July 17, 2009)

I'm a weirdo!

Rastid (July 17, 2009)

Salem is now one of my favourite hardcore songs of all time.

Rest of the record is also good. Except title track is only ok.

Overall, an expectedly amazing job from a great band.

suburbanxcore (July 17, 2009)

So great, and anyone who didn't appreciate New Lexicon is a weirdo.

LawnDay (July 17, 2009)

Record destroys. I was really let down by New Lexicon, but this is fucking great.

wallofyouth (July 17, 2009)

agreed about getting it on vinyl. i've been noticing this with a lot of records lately, like nofx's new album, they sound kinda tinny and weak via mp3 or CD but the i find the "thicker" sound of vinyl adds something -- almost like it is dirtying up these overproduced records. i wonder if they're doing this on purpose.

love all 7 inches of this.

telegraphrocks (July 17, 2009)

Oh, and I also enjoyed reading this review.

Good job, buddy!

telegraphrocks (July 17, 2009)

Definitely not getting as much play from me as their previous releases.

Still good though.

abracadaver (July 17, 2009)

Yeems can do no wrong. This 7" is no exception.

Dante3000 (July 17, 2009)

Holy shit! Did Brian just say a Paint it Black album might not make his year end list? Kiss your shout out at this year's Fest goodbye fucker!

Problematiclogic (July 17, 2009)

This isn't great.

But it's good.

killthepatriarch (July 17, 2009)

Score is for the record and the review

ffwoodycooks (July 17, 2009)

Unfuckwithable is a good Harriet the Spy album

also, this is only behind Hope Conspiracy for my favorite hardcore 7" of the year (so far)

Archangel (July 17, 2009)

I'm not going to read this whole fucking thing. It's a review, not a boring story in which you try to be disinterestedly witty. Shut up and talk about the music.

defianceohioequalslove (July 17, 2009)

"straight-up unfuckwithable"

The only way I'll ever describe PIB from now on.

24hourpriapism (July 17, 2009)

i was on this hayride til "Then I put the needle down on the actual physical copy of the 7" (I got the grey version). When "Salem" kicked in, I completely forgot that I disliked the song. I literally started hardcore dancing in my living room."

then i lol'd.

inagreendase (July 17, 2009)

Superb, but with great 7"s by Agent, Capital, Soul Control and Tigers Jaw, I dunno if this is making the cut come year's end.

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