Youth Funeral, a three-piece post-hardcore/punk/power-violence outfit from New Hampshire/Massachusetts, releases their first full-length, Heavenward. They have been at it for a few years now, and this might be their most musically diverse, and energy-packed release so far. The album is a difficult one to define, for it borders on standard fast-paced hardcore, but it has hints of post-hardcore, punk, power-violence, and emo music. While most music typical to the “hardcore” genre, and all of its subgenres, simply wrings out the adrenal medulla, Heavenward has its own fixing of abrasiveness that scrubs the infected parts of your brain most others tend to ignore.
The album has eleven tracks, and spans a swift fifteen minutes of pure chaos. “Heavenward,” “Amber Light,” and “Helplessness” are all under a minute, a typical structure of this style, short and to the point. This style of embedding short blasts of aggressiveness in between the rest of the mess is an art all its own. Youth Funeral takes this challenge of packing poetic assertiveness into a few brief moments and demolishes it while getting their point across. These tracks are not short of anything to leave the listener drenched in adrenaline and catecholamine: earth-shattering bass lines and frenzied guitar riffs creating discordant noise that battles with the vocals; solid hardcore power-violence.
Every fit of anger has its breaking point, in other words every high creates a low, and Youth Funeral provides the album these breaks with “Only In Sleep Safe” and “Bloom.” “Only In Sleep Safe” starts out with chaotic hardcore, but down-shifts into a slower tempo that carries the song into a classic, more drawn out, section of post-hardcore. “Bloom” is the softest track Youth Funeral has ever put out. The guitar is clean and beautifully strums an arpeggio while the bass hits its harmonics, but it still has the feeling of anticipation through the calm instrumentation. All around a nice post-hardcore style break that leads right back into more chaos.
“Perfume” is a highlight track on this album. It has a jazzy intro, with rolling drums that go straight into some math-like hardcore, but not exactly mathcore. It resembles something of Botch or The Number Twelve Looks Like You, and is a great track continues to pass on the torch of raw energy.
Heavenward shows the amount of potential Youth Funeral has, and how much they’ve grown as a band since their birth. Attempting to draw comparisons to this would be fruitless, but if Ceremony, TN12LLY, and Rites of Spring made a power-violence/post-hardcore album, this would be it.