Time In Malta - A Second Engine (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Time In Malta

A Second Engine (2002)

Equal Vision

I listen to a fair bit of music; especially stuff in the punk, hardcore and indie vein – even the dreaded "emo" on occasion. In recent months, I've noticed a growing and significant movement. No, it's not a new genre, but it's a big push towards crossover acts. You know, mixing punk and emo, emo and hardcore, metal, hardcore and emo, ad nauseum. And while some mediocre bands have received undue attention for combining music, I've heard few bands that have been able to combine genres both successfully and compellingly.

So when I received Time in Malta's latest disc – accompanied by the description "indie/hardcore," I half expected it to be one of those boring bands that added a little indie, or hardcore to their hardcore or indie, in the hopes of attracting some attention.

From the opener, "This Is Our Voice", it became increasingly apparent that this wasn't a case where the hardcore – or the indie – was just thrown in. Unlike the standard hardcore/crossover where there is a specific equation:

1. Screamy Metallicore part
2. Slow Melodic Sad part
3. Screamy Mellallicore breakdown
4. Slow Melodic Ending
5. Repeat for 40 minutes
6. Profit![1]

You know who I'm talking about here

A Second Engine doesn't just forgo this classic structure, it doesn't even acknowledge the existence of it.

The songs do blend indie rock, in the vein of a more melodic Helmet, with some intense, old school hardcore, but the blend, if you can even call it one, is so seamless as not to sound forced. Whether ignoring the classic rule of "breakdown-must-include-screaming" to the almost poppy melodic vocals over rhythmic guitars, A Second Engine really defies expectation, and is always engaging; not to mention that each track is unique and it never drags.

Finally, apparent on the record, is the lack of hardcore/metal production. This sounds like a rock record. And it is, and it does. One of the years best, hands down.

[1] - Yes, this is a South Park joke.