Time and Pressure - The Gateway City Sound (Cover Artwork)

Time and Pressure

The Gateway City Sound (2019)

Safe inside

Time & Pressure, one of the Midwest’s most promising hardcore bands, offer up eleven well-written hardcore songs on their debut full-length, The Gateway City Sound. The St. Louis band combines tightly woven guitar riffs with pounding drums and thoughtful lyrics, offering the listener hardcore that has the aggressive energy necessary to the genre while avoiding much of the genre’s more caveman-ish trappings.

The album opens with a bursting song in “No. 75” that sets both the pace of the record and the strong guitar work throughout. The octave guitar tracks, played at breakneck speed, segue into a thumping breakdown that allows for some clever harmonic work too. The vocals similarly shine here, offering the listener fast-paced and staccato screams that are neither unintelligible nor overblown. In fact, the vocal style is reminiscent of Stretch Armstrong in that the screaming doesn’t cloud the clarity of the lyrics at all.

The LP’s fourth track, “Hiroshima Lovers,” opens with a brooding bass line that gives way to choppy and frenetic verses. However, it’s the drums that are most impressive here. The beats move quickly from horse-hopping clops into speedy but pounding tracks through the song’s breakdown. This song simply bursts with energy. Lyrically, the song is also compelling. The vocalist seems to tackle some very personal parental topics here and that introspection comes through in both the vocal delivery and the energy of the song itself.

Interestingly, the last five songs on The Gateway City Sound are from Time & Pressure’s 2018 demo. While the songs are mastered up, there is a tangible difference in recording quality. That said, the songs themselves are still really well written and show the foundation for the band’s sound. “Love & Trash” is the best of this batch, and makes clever use of harmonics and grooving guitars to balance a great youth crew-inspired breakdown that closes the song.

The strongest track on The Gateway City Sound is “The Lost Boys.” The song showcases everything that Time & Pressure has to offer, from their cohesive song-writing to their contemplative lyrics. Opening with a speedy bass line complemented by similarly fast drums, the song moves into a pounding chorus that is both heavy and subtly melodic. As the music cuts out into the song’s bridge and final breakdown, the guitars offer up chugging mosh-ready riffage. The lyrical content deals with the aftermath of suicide and mental depression, and it does so with candor and honesty. This song, and all its components, is what elevates Time & Pressure above most other hardcore bands.

The Gateway City Sound is a strong debut full-length. Time & Pressure clearly know what their sound is, and they play it well. Halfway through 2019, this LP definitely hits as a top record for the genre this year.