Only Crime - To The Nines (Cover Artwork)

Only Crime

To The Nines (2004)

Fat Wreck Chords

When I first read about Only Crime, my lower jaw instantly broke off and fell on the floor. After I fully recovered, I came home and checked the mail, and the album instantly burst forth out of its own super group power and knocked me flat on my ass and proceeded to do so for the next half hour. I mean, here we have Russ Rankin (Good Riddance), Aaron Dalbec (Bane/Converge), Zach and Doni Blair (Hagfish/Gwar ), and Bill Stevenson (Black Flag/Descendents) all in one group. Being way too big a fan of both Good Riddance and Bane, I found that the only way the album could fail was by falling short of the insanely high standards I had set upon it.

"To the Nines" sets it tone with the first noise, a collective barbaric yell. "R.J.R." is a pretty good indicator of the rest to come. The obvious comparisons to Good Riddance exist beyond the fact that they share the same lead singer. For the most part, Only Crime tends to sound like a harder Good Riddance with an extra guitar. However, it is much more than just a simple write off than that. Songs like "Doomsday Breach" are finer examples of hardcore punk to come out in a while. They got the angry and guttural backing vocals that harshly scream "We rise!" and then a couple seconds later manage to somehow hold a melody. The breakdown towards the end of the song holds a hardcore/metal edge to the guitars before furiously breaking back into some good old melodic hardcore.

Perhaps the hardest song is the title track with is chalk full of little guitar hooks thrown underneath Russ's scratchy vocals. The song's guitars and bass have a definite hardcore feel to them, but the song is still organized with more of a faster punk edge to it. Halfway through the song the true genius of the dual guitars is revealed in what is no more than a very Good Riddance sound with an extra guitar thrown in. In the end, it works out way too well for its own good. After this little melodic hardcore interlude, Only Crime is back in hardcore mode with what is basically just a power mosh riff. Nothing complex and it comes very suddenly, almost unexpectedly. And just as quickly, it is back into pure punk form accompanied by an awesome drum outro courtesy of Bill Stevenson.

The song "Virus" seems nothing more than an excuse for an incredibly outro that constantly deteriorating on itself. It starts out heavy, but then starts to die out just as quickly. The guitars are coming from all over, random screaming/ranting echoes ever so softly, and once again, Bill Stevenson is taking center stage. Yet, in the end, it still works. Some songs do not follow this melodic hardcore punk edge, mainly the second track "Sedated" which almost seems out of place, especially considering the drastic sound change from the first track. It is a poppier very Good Riddance-esque song. Although it is still enjoyable, it sticks out and would belong better more as a bonus track.

Now, as much as I ranted and raved about how great this album is, it really only fell short on one account. It really isn't anything that new. I guess that is my own fault for figuring that this band could truly change the world or something, but in the end, it is just pure awesomeness in the form of melodic hardcore punk. For fans of anyone of either melodic, hardcore, or punk, should drop everything and check this band out. Now I will sit back and patiently wait for that tour with Bane to take place.