Comeback Kid, Wake the Dead Feb. 22, 2005 (Victory Records)
Hardcore stable, Canadian melodic hardcore punk quintet Comeback Kid (CBK) is known for their DIY attitude and self-determination. Born out of 90’s skate punk, CBK is known to incorporate stereotypically intense hardcore/metal instrumentals with non-traditional melodic (-ish) vocals.
Their sophomore full length album, Wake the Dead, was the last album to include founding member Scott Wade on vocals. It mixes the energy of a classic late 80’s, early 90’s punk show with founding post-hardcore sounds similar to Glassjaw.
The opening track starts with a quintessential snare roll into heavy drumbeats and group vocals. “False Idols Fall” is a serenade to all dishonored heroes. Angry and vindictive, Wade’s vocals cut above the chugging guitar and mosh-worthy kick drum, culminating in the stop-time section – “Where did we lose control? / We thought it’d last forever.”
The single and title-track “Wake the Dead” is the definition of CBK. Played endlessly on original Victory Records samplers, it is the thrashing, vindictive anthem that hardcore punk is known for, with the added bonus of understandable lyrics. The group vocals throw the listener into an energetic face-breaking frenzy driven by a heavy interplay between the kickdrum and rhythmic guitar,– “you said, you said, you said / this time was gonna be different / WAKE UP THE DEAD.”
The closing track “Final Goodbye” is slightly self-explanatory. Containing the usual hardcore rudiments found in the rest of the album, “Final Goodbye” links with the idea presented in “False Idols Fall” — examining themselves instead of their idols. “Screaming expectations / They’ve got me by the throat / I’d rather die than bleed / Let’s forget those things we said.”
What the album lacks in variety, it makes up for in unabashed energy. Similar drum beats and a mix of group and singular unclean vocals liter Wake the Dead, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Hardcore - born out of the unrefined punk of Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys – has never been a genre of groundbreaking innovations. It is meant to elicit a response of moshers crashing into one another, blood, sweat and alcohol splattering a venue’s sticky floor.
Listen to: “Wake the Dead”