This whole "metalcore" thing is a bane unto my existence. I don't quite understand how it works, but my basic glean is that it's "metal-influenced hardcore." That being said, I declare Bones Brigade to be the greatest metalcore band ever, and the discussion to be closed.
There have been lineup changes since the last album, I Hate Myself When I'm Not Skateboarding (interestingly enough, a track by this name appears on this album). Nevertheless, the sound remains the same: Extremely fast hardcore coupled with gravelly-voiced singing and an album without any mediocre tracks. In my opinion, this is the best album of the past 10 years.
Released in 2004, Focused starts out off with "Blue Tile Lounge," an introduction of sorts voiced by the great Johnny Rad, whoever that is. If he likes Bones Brigade, I'm sure he's swell to hang out with. Iron Maiden-inspired riffs are omnipresent, coupled with, dare I say, breakdowns.
In another vein of metality, there are not one, but two instrumentals, "LA Massacre" and "The Joust." Don't expect any "Orion" flashbacks, though, as both tracks clock in at well under 3 minutes.
The album ends with "Future Impaired." Normally, I'm not a big fan of movie sample intros, but I find the "Rushmore" quote to be a nice touch, especially because it flows from that into a wonderous guitar assault.
- "Future Impaired"
- "Running On Empty"
- "I Hate Myself When I'm Not Skateboarding"