Lay It On the Line have already graced Already Heard before; they have been part of our “Recommends” feature and got a brilliant reception for their EP ’…And They Stole the TV’. For people not in the know, LIOTL are a breed of hardcore, combining roaring vocals with a blend of thrash, metal and punk-inspired musicianship. ‘Crowhurst’ is their debut full length for Fire Engine Records, a concept record about Donald Crowhurst, a man who jumped overboard during a solo voyage around the world back in 1969.
From the concept alone and a brief look into this Crowhurst fellow, you can tell that LIOTL are an interesting bunch, choosing to stray away from typical hardcore topics, they are trying to deliver songs in a much more creative, whimsical way as opposed to the straight forward styling of other acts in the genre.
Musically ‘Crowhurst’ is pretty standard; it has some brilliant riffs mixing between high-end guitar melodies such as opening track ‘1968’ which starts with some heavy chugging before going on an all-out punk assault. It is heavy too, the added gang vocals which act as a bed to the lead and boost the track.
The thrash-inspired opening riff in ‘October 31st’ is frantic and how it should be played, it is a track that goes from frantic to constructed; again it ends with group vocals adding to the lead line, it is used a number of times but it is that breed of hardcore and it works.
The ‘galloping’ style of ‘Tetley’ again adds another dynamic to this band, it shows that they are willing to break boundaries within their own genre and add to it.
The lead vocals are consistently brilliant, it again adds another dynamic, it isn’t that blend of shouted and spoken word, it is a distinct roar, which has obviously been perfected and practised as it never lets it’s guard down.
On initial listen I must admit this release didn’t do much for me, nothing really jumped out at me however giving it time it really does grow on you. Lay It On the Line have taken elements from a number of genres and combined it to make their own unique brand. At first it doesn’t seem to work but after a few listens it blends well.
‘Crowhurst’ by Lay It On the Line is released out now on Fire Engine Records.
Words by Robert Maddison