Topshelf Records – October 14, 2016
For over 10 years, Dangers have been curating some of the angriest hardcore coming out. On their third full length LP, the Los Angeles-based band continues delivering a pissed-off barrage of punk with a thoughtful twist. The Bend In The Break shows the band maturing from the styles they previously experimented with on Messy, Isn’t It? and Anger.
The album opens with vocalist Alfred Brown IV shouting a muffled and reflective cry over broken guitar. As on previous albums, it’s Brown’s lyrics and delivery which take precedence. However, perhaps in slight contrast to their earlier efforts, Brown presents more mature ideas, fitting for the PhD student.
Brown tackles themes of adulthood, the fabric of relationships, and the role of humans with respect to current societal concerns of politics, race, and human self-greed. Issues of race appear on the songs “Darkest Arts” and “Loose Cigarettes.” Brown, who is half-black, takes a more personal approach on “Darkest Arts,” screaming “I’m not the skin that I’m stuck crawling within. I’m both the lynched and the mob. I’m just a bad magic trick.” On “Loose Cigarettes,” a clear reference to the death of Eric Garner, Brown explores his relation to current racial tensions in America, over a 5-minute melodic guitar ballad.
The songs “It’s The Devil I Love” and “The Straight World” are self-incriminating tales of the male gaze. They are confessions to the lustful thoughts that men possess, from which Dangers claims to be no exception. It’s the bleak honesty of these songs which gives power to their own testimonial.
Over the course of the 13-song album, Dangers manages to address harsh realities with their known nihilistic conscience and polished vulgarity. The songs are dowsed with an ironic and almost bitter sarcasm, reflecting the band’s view: broken but still capable of seeing the complete image— hence the album cover they decided on.
Needless to say, the message would not have the same effect without the punishing instrumentation provided by Justin Smith (guitar), Chris Conde (bass), and Anthony Rivera (drums). Smith’s guitar spans the spectrum of hardcore sounds, at times bringing to mind the technical riffs of bands like Converge and the melodic harmonies of Touché Amoré. Conde’s bass supplies a thick and steady foundation for Smith’s guitar and adds booming support to Brown’s screams. Rivera brings the perfect rhythm for the songs to move along, choosing to be conservative with his hits when appropriate, and pushing forward with intense, powerviolence-esque beats when needed most.
The Bend In The Break provides the right mix of anger, thoughtfulness, and musical exploration for the veteran hardcore band. Old fans will hear a familiarity to the band’s youthful days and new listeners will have a proper introduction to the insightful chaos that is Dangers.
If you enjoyed this release, we recommend…
Lewd Acts – Black Eyed Blues
Ceremony – Still Nothing Moves You
Ghostlimb – Difficult Loves