Backtrack - Deal with the Devil [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Deal with the Devil [7 inch] (2009)


Backtrack is an anomaly in my hardcore tastes. A group of suburban kids thoroughly inspired by NYHC acts like Madball and Breakdown, our economic backgrounds are probably identical, but the interest in hardcore is where we diverge a bit--I just can't relate to the metallic edge or street-wise slant acts like those tend(ed?) to favor. But there's something about this band that sets them apart from their influences while they continue to retain hints of that inspiration--a certain choppiness and spirited scrappiness to what they do that levels their sound to greater plains and allows for more musical space.

The band follow their pretty well-received 2008 demo with this, the six-song Deal with the Devil 7". "Welcome to the Pound" is a really an intro track placed fourth on the EP, but ends up making for a nice halftime interlude anyhow despite the guitars sounding a little sluggish--a fine layer saves it well, though. "Drawn Back to Misery" segues into the riffy "The Roots of Evil" well thanks to a enlivened rhythm section, and it's probably Devil's best song as the guitars are particularly dynamic during one part and there's a little more scowl to Vitalo's voice.

The title track goes with a faster pace in some areas, but throws in tempo changes to mix it up. The band just know how to integrate the appropriate amount of chug with a few interesting riffs littered atop, demonstrated nicely by closer "Organized Crimes." It finds a mid-tempo groove that stomps along in an impossibly delicate and deliberate way, and while it could shoehorn in a mosh part or breakdown it refuses to resort to those antics, instead finding a method to close it that's similar to how the rest of the song goes--just a bit harder, really.

Overall, this 7" just about solidifies Backtrack as one of the best young bands in hardcore. They've got definite crossover appeal as far as sub-hardcore styles go and maybe even a little beyond that. And that's through no forced genre smashing or corny melodies--just solid songwriting with scattered moments of something a little extra.

Deal with the Devil
The Roots of Evil
Drawn Back to Misery