Rival Schools - United by Fate (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Rival Schools

United by Fate (2001)


Rival Schools is made up of former members from Quicksand, CIV, Youth of Today, Iceburn, Die 116, Glassjaw and Gorilla Biscuits and is fronted by Walter Schreifels (former Quicksand founder). And although this is their debut release, it's quite obvious that these guys have a lot of maturity to show in this effort. Let me first tell you that this faultless produced disk is actually something that is beyond me. I mean, being used to the largely simplistic punkbands, this complex and intelligent song-building is not my daily review stuff. In some way a few songs brought me back to the Nirvana and Soundgarden era, but then again, this music has more drive underneath.

Fantastic vocals accompany guitars that are often taking a tour on their own; sometimes accoustic or distorted, other times whirling around, they are what make this band a potential big hitter. At a point listening through the album I started wondering if it all wasn't sounding a bit too far fetched, trying to create a masterpiece with an overexposure of musical talent. But then you are confronted with songs like "Good Things", "The Switch" and "My Echo" which actually contain good mindsticking harmonies. The only (personal) criticism I could think of, was a lack of catchiness (as in "punk"catchiness) and sometimes a too rockish approach, which might cause a problem for this band to get recognized in the punkrock community, although there's a lot of hard songs. But I'm sure this album and band will become classics in their genre whichever that might be. In the end I'd call it a mixture of grunge, punk and just plain rock.

Anyway, I did my best to describe it, maybe you'd better pick it up and be the judge yourself.