Black Kites - Advancement to Ruins [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)

Black Kites

Advancement to Ruins [12 inch] (2009)

Ride the Fury

The first time I put this record on I could feel the things that drew me to punk rock in the first place. Amidst all of the bullshit and bitterness and people starting bands "just to have fun with our friends, man!" it's easy to forget that there's a reason that punk is important to us. If only every record was like this, I would have a lot less to complain about. Listening to this I can remember the power that went along with the first punk songs I ever heard, and I can remember why I associate myself with this, and why I believe in this. Don't let the way it sounds fool you; this is a punk rock record in the tradition of the Clash and Black Flag and just about every Mike Kirsch band.

This is a record best played loud, and it's pretty easy to freak the fuck out to it. Black Kites seamlessly shift from speedy metal-influenced hardcore to slow-lurching rhythms to Converge-inspired guitar parts (see the track "Advancement to Ruin," on their MySpace, one of the highlights of the record) and back throughout the LP, managing to avoid the monotony that's always a danger with this kind of music. The short length doesn't hurt, either. They keep things impressively varied throughout, and it never seems forced, from the gang vocals of "A hunger for greed will bring the end" in "Sick Tradition" to the slow atmospheric interlude fitting between the crushing hardcore of the closing track. It seems like every song has at least one moment that shows the best that this band can offer. The songs are short, and there are only 11 of them, but there isn't a bad spot in there.

The members of Black Kites are straight-edge and vegan/vegetarian, but these themes don't tend to come up in the lyrics much, which I'm sure is a plus to a good deal of people who make certain complaints every time a Propagandhi record comes out. At the same time, don't expect an album full of heartfelt lyrics about the struggles in the singer's life. Don't get me wrong -- those come up, but for the most part, these are songs hearkening back to the grand punk rock tradition of paranoia, disgust and anger. Take "Pipe Dream Revolution," a short blast of metal and hardcore culminating in screams of "Revolution! Just pipe dreams! When preaching! To choirs!" While other bands are busy forgetting that hardcore came from punk rock, Black Kites is making music that's visceral, powerful and important. Here's hoping there's more to come.

For the collector nerds: This record comes on two colors, black and a clear smoky version that looks really nice with the art. This is a good sign! Maybe soon we can get some records that only have one variant!

For the computer nerds: It also comes with a download code and a nice thank you note from the label.

RIYL: Hardcore, Punk Rock, DIY, Vegan/Vegetarian, Straight-Edge, Unbroken, Converge, Birds.