Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Album Review - Expectations 'Expectations'

Haling from Bulgaria, Expectations play melodic hardcore with a post hardcore and neo -crust influence, and have shared stages with the likes of Parkway Drive and A Wilhelm Scream.This self titled debut effort was recorded in Romania by producer Marius Costache . The band have also just completed a short Balkan tour , and are in the process of booking a full EU tour.

Opening with the slow burn melodic clean guitar picking of 'Cursed', Expectations blends atmospheric post rock passages with more traditional breakdowns and two step hardcore breaks.Not earth shatteringly original stuff, but it is aided by a pleasingly heavy , but not overly processed production that allows the songs to breath, and it has to be said that the band's guitar tone is refreshing for a modern hardcore band in that it's not wallowing in compression and presets. First track proper 'May 14th is a catchy melodic hardcore workout', that , while treading some familiar ground, does at least do it with a sense of subtlety , and more than a sly nod to the forefathers of post hardcore.'This Is The End' , 'Set Me Free' and 'Vultures' all share a similar feel , melodic , epic instrumentation underpinned with un-fussy but effective drumming,resulting in an accessible, but still rich sound that puts one in mind of a less stadium bound Alexisonfire.

The band are at their most interesting when they ease off the pedal and concentrate on building an atmosphere,as on album highlight 'Goodbye Today', while the band prove themselves as musicians, even throwing a decent guitar solo in there near the end.This is where the band's true strength lies, in contrasting moments of surprising beauty with a sense of understated rage.Closer 'Only Real When Shared' shares a similar sense of poignant, understated grace, even if it's Against Me -esque in-search-of-a-tune campfire vocals grate a little.They aim for desolate rage, they get howling , it happens.

Overall,this is a strong debut showing from the Sofia based quintet, and one gets the feeling that if the band play to their strengths a little more and showcase their evident talents as musicians a little more, they can really create something special.As it is, this'll do for those, like your humble writer , who pine for the days of dry gigs held in church halls, and are craving a fix of something a bit more spit than the shine of modern mainstream hardcore.

Rating: 6/10
For fans of : Alexisonfire, Kidd Blunt, My Remorse, Gallows, Bacchus
Bandcamp : http://onlywhenshared.bandcamp.com/
Big Cartel: http://expectations.bigcartel.com/

Stephen O ' Connor

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