Haunted Life / Make or Break - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Haunted Life / Make or Break

Split (2006)

Anchorless / Significant

What's better than one good hardcore band on a CD? Why, two good hardcore bands on one CD! Such is the case with the split from Florida's Make or Break and Chicago's Haunted Life. Both bring a similar youth crew revival sound to the table, but with plenty of energy provided by both, it's not something I could possibly complain about.

The first half of the split belongs to the fivesome from the shores of Lake Michigan, and their sound is a furious one, full of bass-driven grooves and rousing gang vocals. Not too many to where it would become cliché, but enough to give a song that may be lagging that little extra boost and kick in the ass that it may need. Generally speaking however, it's not an issue. Not a single one of Haunted Life's songs break the two-minute mark, instead opting for a hit ‘em hard and hit ‘em fast approach that's far more their style. "Who Wins?" begins with one of those thick bass intros that I mentioned earlier, and for the entire duration of the song, doesn't stop hitting. The band's vocalist sounds positively incensed, and that anger propels things through the biting riffs and pounding drums. "For Maya" goes the opposite route and starts out raging, being carried though by some terrific chord progressions and those same angry, ever present vocals.

Make or Break takes a bit different of a hardcore approach. Certainly not a bad one, just a bit of a change of pace.

Though it seems an odd happening, the Florida four-piece actually manages to be quicker than Haunted Life, but scale back a bit on the intensity. The vocals, while intense, are more clearly understood and not quite as in your face. The gang vocals, though present, are much less full, instead the band opting for quick bursts of hardcore punk. The songs are shorter, the vocals more precisely delivered, the guitars straight and to the point. Songs like "Heard It Before," though aggressive enough, lack a bit of the replay value that Haunted Life brought to the table, if only because things bleed together a bit.

Regardless of what are in effect minor criticisms that I have about either band, both do present four solid and separate songs for this split, and at only thirteen minutes, it doesn't give the opportunity to grow stale. Short, fast, and in your face -- game, set, match.