Few and the Proud - Stampede (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Few and the Proud

Stampede (2006)

Organized Crime

Hardcore is interesting in its ability to house bands that can either illicit a very intense and energetic reaction, or bore the complete hell out of you. There's only a few chord changes and differences in vocal inflection between pounding your fist in the desk or wanting to go to sleep; Few and the Proud, unfortunately, find themselves on the wrong side of that very thin line.

"The roar and the rumble of a new era is coming, you can see, hear and feel it, but you can't do a thing."

Those words of warning preface the album's title track, "Stampede," before the incomprehensible vocals and redundant chord progressions usher in the new era of boredom, or at least, that's the new era I assumed the band was referencing, It certainly wasn't an era of change or excitement, as those two distinctions are clearly lost on a band who prefers the same fast-to-slow transitions and lazy drum fills that so many of their uninspired peers are guilty of too.

Nowhere is this lax approach more apparent than on "Mutant," a track so artificially hard that it almost hurts to listen. The guitars are down-tuned, the vocals loud, but there doesn't seem to be any real anger, any real intensity pouring from the singer or any of his bandmates. The contrived hatred is really not much of a stampede at all, and by the time that "Calloused" closes the album out, it's tough to tell how much time you spent listening to the album in the first place. The fast parts serve little more purpose than a vehicle to connect the breakdowns, and the vocals grate to an infuriating degree. Moving from one song to the next is more of a task than a fluid movement, the relentless pounding simply never ceases, and never breaks to offer some tangible interest.

Too many types of a genre and the bands therein are just ‘there'; hardcore should not be one of them.