Comeback Kid - Die Knowing (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Comeback Kid

Die Knowing (2014)

Victory Records

I feel that in writing a review for a new Comeback Kid album, it is paramount to address the obvious. Sometimes when people feel your first offering is always your best one, it may seem than any subsequent offerings may be made in jest and just can never measure up. For those people whatever is new is something that just doesn't capture its original glory. Ultimately for any band, a challenge like that sometimes could prove to be difficult, and it is especially true when you are a hardcore band. So for Winnipeg's Comeback Kid, a band that has gone through numerous member changes, included the dreaded change of vocalists, it has been a challenge they never seemed to have backed down from. So in returning with their first album in nearly four years, Die Knowing is not the record that tries to re-capture the past, but rather combine the best of everything Comeback Kid has previously done. Boy did they deliver.

As you may or may not know, Die Knowing is Comeback Kid's fifth full length, and their third with vocalist Andrew Neufeld. While the band has undergone the aforementioned member changes and various tweaks in songwriting along the way, it's safe to say Comeback Kid has found their songwriting stride with this album. Die Knowing successfully incorporates everything: devastating breakdowns, non-stop intensity, frenetic punk energy, superior technicality and a slew of catchy anthems. Ultimately what makes this album worthwhile is the right balance of everything that is maintained throughout the record.

Die Knowing is arguably Comeback Kid's heaviest album yet, and establishes it as such with the opening title track "Die Knowing," which sets the tone for the rest of the album. It is the perfect opening track for this record, and as the intensity slowly builds, one couldn't help but picture how it will translate well at a live show. As it eventually leads to a heavy breakdown, it marks the perfect lead into "Lower The Line," which is a heavy metal-influenced ripper. Another standout is "Wasted Arrows," which starts off with a great buildup, and leads into more fast hardcore intensity coupled with continuous shouting of "Wasted Arrows." "Should Know Better" marks the band's mid-tempo offering, but doesn't break the pace or energy of the record as a whole.

The second half of the album is a little more varied in its intensity than the first, but it is not forgettable by any stretch of the imagination. It opens up with "Somewhere In This Miserable…" with some old-school hardcore intensity. It is followed up with the more punk-infused "Beyond." The second half continues along and includes a treat for everybody. The song "Full Swing" marks the return of Scott Wade as a guest vocalist, and it doesn't disappoint. While Wade gets his own moment to shine in the song, ultimately it shows just how intense Neufeld's vocals are, even though both vocalists shine on this track. "Sink In" is about as good of a closer as Comeback Kid has written, and from the opening chords it showcases itself as such. With the very catchy "I don't wanna sink in" hook, it is undeniable that in closing Die Knowing, Comeback Kid has done just about everything right.

In Die Knowing, Comeback Kid has found a way to do more with less. This album is shorter than their previous effort Symptoms + Cures by almost ten minutes. This album contains more breakdowns, more speed, and more hooks than any album since Neufeld has taken over vocal duties. Fans who may have been indifferent to their last few efforts will more than likely find themselves with an unexpected surprise with Die Knowing. Writing an album that has so much to offer to their live set may have seemed like an uphill battle, but Comeback Kid has successfully accomplished just that.