This Routine Is Hell - The Verve Crusade (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

This Routine Is Hell

The Verve Crusade (2010)


The Netherlands' This Routine Is Hell are unabashed Paint It Black fans. They state the influence on their MySpace, for one; their vocalist spits and howls his words like Dan Yemin's little brother, for another; musically, The Verve Crusade sounds like all the meanest parts of CVA compacted into one long, unfurling bout of rage. Despite all this, the band's 11-song, 18-minute-ish full-length really does make its own mark as an effervescent, enthusiastic and enlivened hardcore album that makes a hell of a splash for a debut.

Okay, so "Tied Down (But Comfortable Enough)" takes the last :03 of "Atticus Finch" and stretches it out a bit. Really, moments like these are fleeting so they're pretty forgivable. And there are definitely hints of other hardcore influence in here, like the energetic chug of early '00s Boston acts like Panic and the Suicide File, and the Ceremony circa Scared People thump of a mid-tempo tantrum like "Crossed Fingers." There's kind of a Gallows-meets-PIB vibe for "The Weight of Defeat." Plus, their guitarist is just fucking wailing at times, like in "Manufacturing Consent" and the title track.

The recording from Nico van Montfort deserves a mention, too: It's fantastic. It sounds like anything Jim Siegel or Dean Baltulonis might have churned out over the course of the last decade. It helps complement the darker, more ominous chords that suddenly create an atmosphere in "Make Haste" and add a melodic but gritty edge to the otherwise barrel that comes forth with The Verve Crusade's near relentless pace.

The Verve Crusade could use a few more hooks and a couple less moments of "well, yeah," but really, this album just rages from start to finish. It's harsh and aggressive without gimmickry or overbearingness, and even that can be a lot to ask for these days.

The Verve Crusade