The Golden Age - Unlock Yourself (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Golden Age

Unlock Yourself (2009)


The Golden Age produce a sophomore full-length that's more or less a solid entry in the less populated area of semi-melodic hardcore (opposed to, you know, less so or just plain full-on).

Unlock Yourself's songs make a point of coming in, making a point, then leaving, and its impeccable urgency is what keeps it enjoyable -- all average about two minutes apiece. While Strike Anywhere's been a frequent comparison, there's a smartly heavier thump to the record that seems to re-imagine Solid State-era Stretch Arm Strong playing at more consistently punk speeds and refraining from any breakdowns or general mosh parts. "Old Ghosts" comes through with a surprisingly slower, swirling opening, though, that's almost reminiscent of someone like Engine Kid, and the tempo changes and loose gang vocals in "Recharge" make it a standout.

Musically, there's nothing really cheesy here, but the adamant simplicity in "The Constant" ("I am straight edge. / I will always be.") sticks out sorely, even if it's made up for by the Stay Gold-ish guitar melodies towards the song's end. Non-edgers and non-vegans might be a little bothered by the better worded but still rather straightforward statements and guilt induction of "The Key," too ("I choose compassion over cruelty. / I refuse to ignore my conscience."). It has some guitar parts super reminiscent of Strike Anywhere, and that's cool either way you cut it. The rest of the album sees more thoughtful discussions revolving around optimism and regret of the human spirit.

Unlock Yourself doesn't quite stock itself with enough dynamism and hooks to rise above the great albums that have come out in recent years traversing similar territory, but it's a worthwhile time for fans of the style.

Unlock Yourself