Strangers - Weight (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Weight (2007)

Action Man

Early this year, a New Zealand band by the name of Strangers released an extremely promising demo entitled Holding. The full-length it seemed to hint at would be one that would be a boon for international hardcore, as the band coated their songs with an intense, raw fury and assured D-beat flair. This particular full-length has arrived, and while its monumental title seems to try and answer these expectations, the music contained within is merely competent.

So, yes, Weight is a disappointment for those that expected crust-injected hardcore to have a new group of leaders, but it's still a solid debut in and of itself. R. Thomas' vocals are a mean, clear roar in front of the charge, and he's a convincing character. Behind him is the band's usual blast of creative, heavy hardcore with metallic shades and articulate, bitter lyrics. However, the production really hurts it -- the pounding stop-starts of what should be a huge, momentous and mid-tempo track ("You Crawl") seem less breathtaking than they should be; they're just simply not as sharp as one would like, and it really feels like it's holding the album back from that extra "umph."

The band's ability to mix up the pace is impressive, though. They don't always storm forward at that typical clip one would expect, instead holding back for more frustrated anthems like the aforementioned, "Time Is Waiting in the Street," and the five-minute, epic closer "Overborn."

Where Weight succeeds best is actually in its physicality -- the layout is seriously gorgeous, a minimal presentation of landscape photos with lots of whitespace and the lyrics printed neatly in the center of the liner notes.

Weight certainly could've been worked on for a bit longer, but for a 26-minute debut full-length displaying such a style, the band clearly has some impressive ambition. Also, big ups for the instrumental "Noma," which contains multiple clips from the super creepy "Jesus Camp."

album preview


[This album was released in New Zealand and Europe October 5th.]