How We Are - How We Are (Cover Artwork)

How We Are

How We Are (2005)


Most of you have probably never heard of How We Are. They are a melodic hardcore band from Rochester, NY. Chances are, if you're at least somewhat in touch with the hardcore scene, you have at least heard of some of the bands these dudes used to be in: Standfast, the Disaster and XwitnessX to just name a few.

Not that any of that really matters, as How We Are stands out on their own. They don't need to rely on that old "ex-members of..." tag that seems to apply to so many current hardcore bands.

This summer, HWA released their self-titled debut EP on Rochester-based Luchador Records. 6 songs, about 11 minutes and not one wasted second. These guys play hard, they play fast and they display a level of talent that puts them miles ahead of all of these old-school revivalist bands that everyone seems to love these days.

Two tracks, "Open Up" and "Truth in Fucking Up," are rehashed from their 3-song demo, but the recording quality sounds far superior this time around and it really helps out. The production level adds the extra punch that their demo lacked, but then again, it was just a demo.

If you love gang-vocals, you'll get off on the end of the opening track, "Diagnosed." Songs like "The Search" and "Damage Control" illustrate the solid guitar work that drives many of their tunes. Vocalist Rory VanGrol passionately screams out his deeply personal and socially aware lyrics. Some may recognize Rory as the singer of another fine band, Achilles, but his style here is a far cry from the heavier tendencies of his other band.

For a debut EP, this is ridiculously impressive stuff. It's spent countless hours on repeat in my CD player and every listen leaves me ready for more new material. These guys have only been a band for a little over a year and their sound is still developing. That thought alone makes me incredibly excited to hear what comes next.

It's hard to think of bands to compare HWA to, because they're not really jocking anyone else's style. These guys aren't re-writing the book, but they are doing a damn fine job of branching out and doing something fresh and different. I'll reach out on a limb and say that if you're into Bane, the Suicide File, Verse or any fast melodic hardcore, then you should give How We Are a listen.