Incendiary - Thousand Mile Stare (Cover Artwork)


Thousand Mile Stare (2017)

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Long Island, NY’s Incendiary return with Thousand Mile Stare, the band’s long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s Cost of Living LP. Their latest effort is a step up in all areas. Thousand Mile Stare not only picks up where Cost of Living left off, but it also steams into territories that few hardcore bands are able to break into, offering an appeal beyond punk or hardcore or metal alone. It lives up to the ever-present hype train that many underground bands suffer through, and it offers the listener a level of intellect that is at once candid, fuming, and earnest.

Most strikingly, Thousand Mile Stare is a record written with continuity and maturity. All of the typical Incendiary ingredients are there: guitar-driven harmonics, sing-alongs, breakdowns, thundering drum beats, and seething anger. But the LP manages to harness those components into a swirl of chaos done with great professionality. The recording quality is unusually high for the genre, and the mixing and mastering level up the aforementioned ingredients so as to produce a cohesive and pro-quality full-length that’s very listenable. Even to people outside the genre.

And while Incendiary has always been a sociopolitically conscious band, Brendan moves his lyrical content into an even more mature arena on this release. He covers everything from economic inequality to religious dogma to relationship dynamics. And he does so with a well-balanced and purposeful ambiguity, allowing the listener to relate and interpret as he or she sees fit. Interestingly, the lyrics are just ambiguous enough to not be trapped by time or place. And if we’re playing the long game here, that will serve to cement Thousand Mile Stare as an influential record. Moreover, he’s managed to also make his vocals more easily discernible on the record. In trading in the constant scream from releases past and moving toward a more measured delivery, Brendan’s opened the listenability of the record. There’s also an interesting hip-hop styling to this delivery, and whether intentional or not, it works for the record’s sound.

“The Product is You” is a standout on the record, opening with blasting drums that settle into haunting but heavy guitar riffs. The song stalks into a breakdown, combining dissonant guitars layered over steel-hardened chugging metallic hardcore flares. The track showcases Incendiary’s ability to offer a full-bodied assault on the listener, reining in a boldness of sound that gets the blood and adrenaline moving swiftly. “Hard Truths Cut Both Ways” similarly blitzes through with hellishly heavy hardcore sonic blasts, rising with fuzzed up bass fills and eery guitar ring outs only to throw the listener into a breakdown sure to make even the most lighthearted of listeners scowl with fury. While these two stand out, it’s worth mentioning that the guitar work on nearly every song offers the careful listener some really great harmonic layers that embolden each track (see “Hanging from the Family Tree”).

Thousand Mile Stare is truly on the short list for record of the year, at least in the hardcore genre. It has to be. Where most hardcore records struggle to keep the listener’s ear from start to finish, Thousand Mile Stare allows for nothing less than just that. The musicianship allows for a crossover appeal that has the potential to draw in a much larger fan base, and yet absolutely nothing is lost in their sound whatsoever. With Thousand Mile Stare, Incendiary have offered us hardcore with conscience. And while they’ve packaged it in the seemingly typical delivery of heavy hardcore brutality, the record is anything but. It burns from the opening riff to the final ring out with the disenchantment of those whose perspective have been drawn from experience, not naivete.