Though The Amsterdam Red Light District seized major plaudits as they boldly established themselves within the punk/hardcore/rock scene with second album Gone For a While in 2014, the release still missed stirring up the kind of fervour in us that others were finding the certainly highly enjoyable encounter. It seems that we were just waiting for a particular undefined spark which has now undoubtedly caught within the France based band’s new fury, Sapere Aude. THARD’s third album is a beast of a roar, as ferociously infectious as it is instinctively irritable and emotionally tempestuous and for us by far the best thing the band has unleashed.
With inspirations found in the likes of Refused, The Bronx, The Ghost of a Thousand, and The Bled, Europe has been the broad sounding board for the 2005 founded band’s sound over the past few years, THARD sharing stages with the likes of Refused, Anti-Flag, Thrice, 36 Crazyfists, Comeback Kid, and Slayer alongside their own successful shows and tours. This month sees the band off on their travels again with Sapere Aude lock and loaded in their arsenal.
It opens up with Nobody Moves Like You and a spiral of acidic grooves and heavy handed rhythms which lure ears and attention like a magnet. Swiftly it settles into a tempestuous stroll as catchy as it is belligerent, Elio Sxone’s vocals an alluring temper in its midst backed by those increasingly captivating grooves cast by guitarist Maxxx Comby. A blend of hardcore and metal, the track has a natural swing which alone infested the appetite with the dark tones of Greg Clert’s bass adding to the instinctive temptation. Vocally Sxone brings adventure and diversity to match the raw and skilfully woven sounds around him in one glorious inventive brute of an introduction.
The following The Best Is Yet To Come is just as quickly and intrusively gripping. Featuring Cancer Bats front man Liam Cormier, the track simultaneously grumbles and seduces in voice and sound, the rhythmic trespass of drummer Julien Chanel driving its intent and forceful urgency as the guitar and melodic aspect of the vocals bring a ferocity tempering enterprise. As its predecessor, it demands and commands willing attention with adventure and imagination.
Two songs in and already the album has whipped up personal passions missed by previous offerings and only ups the ante with the fiery punk ‘n’ roll of Need. Again vocals and music create a cauldron of contrasts and ferocity with balance and adventure, the song having something of Every Time I Die meets The Ghost of a Thousand to it as it too inflamed the senses and appetite before Wild Life sparked its own blaze of praise and ardour with its hellacious creative clamour. Blending various aspects of ferocious intrusion and melodic captivation to its punk metal, vocal harmonics adding to the drama, the track simply whipped up greedy attention.
Carry On is an infection of temptation, tenacious hooks and riffs colluding with the song’s emotional irritancy and rousing breath; all bound in an enterprise as persistently catchy as it is rapacious. It all comes though with an ebb and flow which only increases its fascination and imagination while Over The Fence in turn uncages a sonic squall and a senses battering rhythmic dance which holds similarities to its predecessor before unveiling its own quest of creative discontent.
The turbulent spirals of Waiting For The Day needs little time to incite intrigue and imagination next, its opening web subsequently draped in vocal and sonic dispute again as magnetic as it is corrosive in a psyche infecting mix which nags and harries as it bruises and excites. That raw incursion is only intensified in The Whole City Burns, its melodic metal aligning with feral punk in an invigoratingly abrasive holler loaded with spiky riffs, barbed hooks, and melodic fire.
The album concludes with firstly Evil Stakeholders, a slab of crotchety yet melodically bewitching raging which maybe did not quite inflame as others before it but only reinforced the impressive character and force of Sapere Aude. Its title track is the final offering, an outro of intimation and samples reflecting the portentous state of the world with bursts of rhythmic incitement. Maybe better served as an intro to the album in some ways, it is a fascinating last breath to one striking release.
From first note to last Sapere Aude truly stirred our fullest passions, that anticipation for bigger bolder things ahead sparked by its predecessor more than realised in a release sure to feature as one of the year’s greatest moments.
Sapere Aude is out now via Red Light Records.
Pete RingMaster 08/03/2018
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