Liferuiner, up to the year 2013, had been a very consistent band. Created as something of a straight-edge satire, the Montreal foursome followed through on their joke premise by releasing ‘No Saints’ (2007) and ‘Taking Back The Nightlife’ (2008). Both albums displayed the now usual brand of rather uninspired hardcore, offering little more than a compilation of the genre’s clichés. With the band relying on the tired breakdown format for (seemingly) the entire structure of their songs, along with unengaging de facto screamed vocals, there seemed little space (or at least very little intention) for the band to progress into something more compelling.
AND YET! And yet. ‘Future Revisionists’ begins. The atmospheric opening measures of ‘Vacant’ ring the welcome bells of change, first and foremost with regard to the ethereal quality of the tone, but also in the vocals. Perforating the gentle opening along with the drums, the latter are immediately noticeable for their newly found emotional character. As the track inevitably veers into riff-heavy hardcore territory, the above-stated evolution brings emotionally-satisfying substance to a track that, on a prior album, might have relied on vapid sing-along catchphrases. As such, the opening track delivers light hints of an emo cum post-rock influence, a feeling that pops up every so often on the likes of closing track ‘Self Purgatory’ and less obviously on ‘Savages’’ chorus.
Traces of heart-wrenching emotionality are not the only welcome genre experimentations Liferuiner operates along the way. A large number of breakdowns on display here benefit from a tasteful prog vibe, elevating the exhausted convention above its generic counterparts, with a couple of Dillinger Escape Plan moments (which is NEVER a bad thing). The most compelling examples are to be found in the mathy opening rhythmics of ‘Fissure’, the groovy riffs of single ‘Dreamcatcher’ and ‘Waivered Lives’’ varied mid-section.
Of course, the above examples are but solitary moments, and the majority of the album is composed of hard-hitting hardcore powerhouses. ‘Savages’ is unrelentlessly energetic, but also provides one of the album’s most passionate, if fleeting, emotional highs, combined with some of its most antagonistic. ‘Despair’ is a dissonant mauling, ‘Harvest/Famine’ introduces light helpings of melody and ‘Waivered Lives’ shifts around with a bit of everything, to great effect.
I would never have expected this day to come, but Liferuiner have managed something altogether rather good on ‘Future Revisionists’. Doing away with the shackles of convention they appeared to be bound with on their two previous LPs, the Canadians deliver some strong hardcore tracks, made all the better for the variety of ingredients they add to the mix. Sure, they never commit to these experimentations enough to truly shape their sound into something truly new, but it’s still a healthy step in the right direction. Here’s to hoping it’s not a one-time thing.
‘Future Revisionists’ by Liferuiner is released 4th June on Transcend Music.
Words by James Berclaz-Lewis (@swissbearclaw)