Exploring music is the most rewarding adventure but equally a truly frustrating one when discovering a band or sound which has been around for a fair if not long time but only now coming to personal attention. Portuguese hardcore outfit Push! is one such proposition; a band which has been viciously roaring away for a handful of years and drawing potent acclaim along the way but only crossing our radar now with new album Dark Dive, a rousing beast of sonic ferocity and unbridled rage.
Hailing from Lisbon, Push! has forged a strong reputation and lured rich praise from their live presence alone which over time has seen them share stages with the likes of Madball, Strife, Backtrack, Brutality Will Prevail, Sworn Enemy, Devil In Me, and For The Glory as well as play several major festivals in Portugal. 2014 saw the release of debut album Breathe In The Future Breathe Out The Past, a release making a strong introduction to the young band and laying the seeds for its stronger well-received voracious successor, This Is Cruel. This Is Life. two years later. Now the Stu Mckay (Malevolence, Brutality Will Prevail) mastered Dark Dive sees the band’s sound and songwriting at a whole new maturity, prowess, and indeed ferocity as greater and richer metal, groove and thrash amongst them, and punk flavours infest their hardcore instincts.
A compelling Intro sees the album rising to its predacious feet, the instrumental an untamed yet controlled, indeed devious web of grooves and riffs leading listener into the waiting scourge of Free At Last. Instantly the irascible throat of vocalist Nuno Cruz unleashes its ire whilst heading the equally choleric strains and riffs of the united guitars of Ricardo Servo and Roberto Cebolas. Just as swiftly an infectious strain of intent grips sound and emotion, a riling up of both which got under the skin with viral efficiency and trespass.
The great start is quickly backed up by Denial And Envy, a track led through ears by the senses clipping beats of Ricardo Aleixo before unleashing a tide of sonic and emotional irritability. Imaginative hooks and grooves line the cantankerous sounds exploring the speakers, Push! already showing themselves as dab and imaginative hands at spinning the most devious and persuasive kind, while gang and individual vocals only incited keener attention as the bass of André Paiva enticingly groans and menacingly growls alongside it all.
Through the album’s resourcefully fractious title track and the following carnivorous prowl of Pitfall, the increasingly addictive Dark Dive reveals greater unpredictability and invention. Both tracks are as feral as they are imaginatively and zealously grumpy, neither sharing a moment which does not keep you on your toes, nothing expected or uneventful shared before a breath is allowed through Left With Memories, an instrumental thick in intrigue and intimation woven by guitars.
Paiva’s bass provides a bestial lure to the following With Love; classic metal flavours wrapping the instant predatory tone and motion of the song before all traits expand in a cross-grained punk metal incursion. In some ways it is not as immediate a real temptation as others around it but in just as many it is one of the most magnetic moments within Dark Dive. It then makes way for the senses stalking exploits of Cuffed To Yourself, a voracious pursuit of the senses and appetite which in turn departs to allow the similarly predatory touch and inclinations of Ground Floor to bare irresistible enterprise.
It is hard to honestly pick out a true favourite from the eleven tracks making up Dark Dive such the prowess and devious antics of all but next up Keep Silent offers plenty to be considered with regularity, the track a barbarous but anthemic call impossible to ignore specially when it too turns to hounding the listener like a bloodthirsty beast.
The album closes up with Procrastinate, a final slice of ruthless incitement and emotive ire unafraid to embrace old school metal wiring, thrash rapacity, and punk causticity to its hardcore raging. It is a potent end to a simply outstanding release from Push!, the kind of record to thrust the band into much bigger spotlights we expect and hope; Dark Dive certainly deserves that success.
Pete RingMaster 08/03/2019
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