Snapcase - Bright Flashes (Cover Artwork)


Bright Flashes (2003)


'Bright Flashes', which comes straight off the heels of 2002's momentous 'End Transmission' (record of the year, methinks, as it catapulted Snapcase into uncharted territory…) and features tracks that were cut from 'Transmission''s recording sessions (during which time the band actually had over 100 minutes-worth of music) as well as remixes of three songs that did make it on that album ("Believe/Revolt", "Ten A.M.", and "Exile Etiquette"), is by no means a "throw away" record. On the contrary, what 'Flashes' offers is the missing chapters to the progressive hardcore band's epic tale of a dystopian society in the year 2071 and the downtrodden masses' attempts at revolting against their oppressors (for a more detailed description, see my review). Songs that continue this concept like the powerful, conflicted "Skeptic", "New Academy", and "Dress Rehearsal" (THE standout track) fit in perfectly with the band's vision and sound.

For anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to 'Transmission' and reading the lyrics, you'd remember that there were six extra song titles and lyrics listed in the booklet than actually appeared on the record. Well, these my friends, are what make up the bulk of 'Bright Flashes'. Therefore, this album is essential to anybody who was really taken with 'Transmission' and wants vocalist Daryl Taberski's story in its entirety. And the three remixes included just prove even more how revolutionary and creative Snapcase is. The five-piece show they're not confined to just playing hardcore, but open to experimenting with programming, which was guitarist Frank Vicario's idea. Some purists will be up in arms because they stray from their original sound – hell, people were upset with the band's new direction on 'Transmission' – but that the guys are fearless when trying new things and don't care what people think or how it will affect record sales should be lauded, not frowned upon.

But even if one cringes at the idea of Snapcase going a little techno, there's plenty to like on the album, including some hard-hitting covers of Helmet's "Blacktop" and Jane's Addiction's "The Mountain Song", the two heaviest, most bludgeoning songs on the album, although the band's own "Makeshift Tourniquet", another song that was cut from the 'Transmission' sessions, is pretty damn heavy. Meanwhile, the guys' energetic, upbeat renditions of Devo's "Freedom of Choice" and "Gates of Steel" definitely lighten up the mood of the record, which, with such profound subject matter, is overall rather serious and reflected wonderfully in the music, which is complex, emotional yet aggressive hardcore that reiterates the feeling of immediacy conveyed through Taberski's signature high-pitched, scream-y vocals.

The record ends with a remix of "Exile Etiquette" - this was the best, most affecting song off 'Transmission' in this reviewers mind, but in this altered form, it just doesn't even compare. In contrast, their remix of "Ten A.M." does hold up, as they manage to maintain its original ominous, foreboding feeling intact. As a whole, viewing both releases side-by-side, the highly innovative 'End Transmission' wins out for its scope and pioneering vision. Still, 'Bright Flashes' is a record worthy of attention.