Break the Silence – Near Life Experience (CD)

Hey, Dan Precision is a founding member of Rise Against, and is the vocalist for this band. And I wondered why “Near Life Experience” sounds like a harder-edge RA album. Mixing the elements of mid-nineties stand at the mic and scream hardcore with melodic, emotional punk a la AFI, Break the Silence is best described as a bipolar band. Each track shows this bipartite dynamic strain over their completely different sound. When the band can be said to hit on all cylinders are when both parts are in some sort of agreement, best shown in a track like “Oceans Away”. Here, a straight-forward hair-metal riff is paired alongside a bubbling bass line while a sugary-sweet nu-emo vocal is paired alongside a Cookie Monster on helium style of vocals. As such, the band navigated musically between the two major acts on Hopeless: Thrice and Avenged Sevenfold, and if I could be so bold, does a better job on this, their debut CD, than either band did on their “Illusion of Safety” or “Waking the Fallen”.

The metal influence on the band is not to be overlooked, as some memorable moments can be found on this disc, such as the double bass/guitar solo of “Slaughter of the Soul”, mixing the funkiness of Kyuss and Corrosion of Conformity with Slayer and Helloween. When a band can so obviously play lip service to two different genres as Break the Silence does, the most common result is that they play a style fo music that would be mediocre in both genres. Break the Silence’s infatuation with alternating punk and metal/hardcore tracks does not mean that the tracks on “Near Life Experience” are simply mediocre; many of these tracks are at a high enough level quality-wise that they could be singles. Each member of the band gets their own moment in the sun, whether it is on bass, guitar, vocals or drums – no one facet of the band continually outshines any other. While some technical wanking might go on during a guitar riff or a drum solo, someone is there to tear it down and do their own thing.

As such, we are left with an album that is endearing, even if an individual can only discern the lyrics perhaps half of the time, chance are that this will be a great sing-along album. Many bands, ever since the earliest days of Black Flag and DRI, have tried to straddle this line between punk and metal, and it becomes obvious after listening to the disc that Break the Silence is probably the equal to a band like Atreyu, in leading the current wave of this meshing of music.

Top Tracks: Loud & Clear , Oceans Away

Rating: 7.8/10

Break the Silence – Near Life Experience / 14 Tracks / 2004 Hopeless Records / http://www.break-the-silence.com / http://www.hopelessrecords.com / Released 10 February 2004 / Reviewed 25 February 2004

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