Kane Hodder - The Pleasure To Remain So Heartless (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Kane Hodder

The Pleasure To Remain So Heartless (2004)

Cowboy Versus Sailor

Kane Hodder's debut EP A Frank Exploration Of Voyeurism And Violence, released earlier this year, was an interesting blend of pure indie rock and mosh-free hardcore, but really lacked something, seeming a bit misguided - it wasn't completely directionless, but rather it was another case of a band loaded with potential, just looking for the right niche to settle into.

On The Pleasure To Remain So Heartless, Kane Hodder settle into this niche, then rip its outer core inside-fucking-out.

Pleasure is a definite improvement over A Frank Exploration to say the least, as the band takes the logical extension incorporating a slightly more melodic structure, more comfortably fit hardcore parts and occasional bits of post-hardcore (especially the earlier middle part of the disc). Continuing a total abandonment of traditional chorus-verse standard, Kane Hodder thrive on a lack of structure like vultures prey on a lack of liveliness. The rock is a little more rock and the hardcore is a little more hardcore, as when the latter's transition comes in, it's followed with the appropriately heavy guitars and its ilk - the band will change moods at the drop of a dime and simultaneously manage to smooth things over like standard procedure usually wouldn't allow. Juxtaposing screaming growls against indie rock snarls shouldn't work this well, but it does, because they incorporate influences across the map from At The Drive-In to Dillinger Escape Plan (seriously, listen to the intro of "You Sign Your Crimes With A Silver Bullet"). The vocal range is, like the latter, shockingly good, as they jump everywhere from hardcore-induced growling to clean singing to crooning and sinister prophecies.

Depicting surrender doused in flames on the front cover paves the way for the rest of the disc in terms of lyrical subject matter. The personal identity and relationship topics tackled are disguised by often graphic landscapes and occasional biblical imagery, dwelling on cancerous metaphors and a vague reference to suicide here and there. The adolescent misogyny can get clichéd and bluntly corny a lot of times ("tie your hair back / I wanna kiss you before I kill you"), but for the most part, the band seems to know what they're doing.

Music this experimentive these days is never this pretension-free, but Kane Hodder pulls it off in this sense. Hell, they title the second track "I Think Patrick Swayze Is Sexy," and kick it off with Darkness-like crooning, splashing more high-pitched yelps like this across the rest of the song, and even throw in a clap-led chant-along just over a minute in that I'd imagine would translate so well live. It sums up the album quite nicely, showing how you can avoid most trends, still push boundaries and bypass the usual pitfalls without stumbling over the faultlines of such a challenge.