In the same year where Snapcase had released its landmark Progression Through Unlearning, another band playing a very similar style was about to make one hell of a name for themselves. Its tools? A progressive hardcore sound and a mind deeply rooted in social and political issues. This band was Boy Sets Fire, and The Day the Sun Went Out is responsible for the 36 minutes that put their very name on the map.
Now in 2005, eight years after that seminal release, Equal Vision has remastered and is reissuing the album. And we're all better off for it.
Channeling all their socio-political rage into their music, Boy Sets Fire rip and rage with all the drive and passion they could possibly muster through 12 solid tracks. A band to always put forward their best foot first, "Cringe" opens the album with the line "My mouth is full, of your inspiration!" And it doesn't relent even the slightest bit from there on out. Never a band to rely on heavy distortion or double bass drumming, the five-piece from Delaware impress with singer Nathan Gray's frantic and cathartic vocal style and the slick but hard hitting chord progressions of Chad Istvan and Josh Latshaw. Using a great contrast of clean and distortion, the guitarists are seemingly able to battle back and forth while still moving the song forward. "The Power Remains the Same" starts out with some smooth bass licks, before Gray's vocals really rip through it all; there's no doubt he's the centerpiece of the band, the one that they all depend on. And it's as much for his lyrics than his voice itself...
You're just another anthem, guided by a bullet / You can take this all to hell, with your fucking victims / Down a toast of their blood with your wine, while refining your ego's defense / The glory of bullets, the fire, the mob's action to riot / Your keen sense of interest in the revolution will end / With the stains of innocence on your hands / The flags that divide us grow stronger, with your plastic refinement / Plaster your picture of heads lining your mantle, define your heresy with the streets / Line with their entrails, your murders reek of their guns / Your motives reek of their kind.Some truly hard hitting words to accompany "Toy Gun Anthem," an equally hard hitting musical assault. The fury of words and instrumentation truly does not relent at any point in the album, even in a few of the sporadic melodic passages that are strewn throughout. But it's those lyrics that really put Boy Sets Fire above so many others; the impact can be felt just as much vocally as any chord progression. "Hometown Report Card" closes off this album in a fine fashion, with one of the more punishing tracks on the album, riding on some real terrific rhythms. Boy Sets Fire has always been a band with something to say, a voice against a lot of the wrongs going on throughout the world. This is where it all started, where the vision was first formed, and it sounds better than ever.
Until the forthcoming release of Boy Sets Fire's fourth full-length early next year, this album will serve as a reminder of just what intelligent, progressive hardcore can be. Ahead of its time.