REVIEW: Delinquents – Face of Evil [EP/2016]


Artist: Delinquents  

Album: Face of Evil – EP


When you hear the term “delinquent,” what comes to mind? Youthful arrogance, passion, energy and the desire to effect change by any means necessary—for better or worse. Maybe you think of a misguided youth acting out against establishment, or maybe a more mature adolescent with calculated mal intent comes to mind. Whether it’s one of those two exactly or a variation on that theme, chances are, it applies to the Wisconsin hardcore quartet that shares the same name. With their latest EP, Face of Evil, Delinquents live up to their name, attacking the listener with a raw, unbridled fury fueled by spastic, fierce energy and a bone to pick with the entire world. While Face of Evil may not reinvent the wheel when it comes to fast-and-pissed hardcore, it certainly gives the wheel enough power to steamroll the listener without much thought.

Instrumentally, Delinquents align themselves with Lionheart’s proclivity for relatively straightforward breakdowns, blended with the quick, aggravated riffing of  Trapped Under Ice or Terror. Percussionist Ross Backenkeller flows from frantic blast beats to fleet-footed two-steps and devastating breakdowns without much in the way of filler in between. “Stick It” is a stellar example—opening with a frenzied snare-and-kick pattern, Backenkeller quickly builds it into a beefy, beatdown-inducing breakdown with the help of Dereck Miles’ meaty bass tone and speedy strumming. “Try-Hard” follows a similar structure, taking the time to take a quick detour in two-step town before Backenkeller and Miles bring it back together into a traditional hardcore breakdown bound to make it rain fists on anyone standing within fifty feet of the pit. All the while, Backenkeller and Miles serve as a canvas for Dan Lepien’s guitar—which is neither light and poppy nor overly downtuned and dissonant. Rather, Lepien’s guitar has just the right amount of sharp, skin-slicing aggravation to make his riffs fast and his breakdowns furious. Boldly contrasting between the two, “Spit Face” and “Flaw by Design” see him flipping back and forth from one to the other with little transition or warning, relying on pure chaotic energy to keep the songs streamlined enough to soar right into the listener’s skull by way of their ears.

Where Delinquents stick to a tried-and-true hardcore formula with their straightforward and sharp musicianship, they follow a similar pattern with their vocal effort. Frontman Dustin Lang spends a majority of his time barking out syllables with a raw, gritty shout—delving into a grungy, dirge-like singing voice on “The True Face of Evil” and bitter, sharp screams on “Spit Face.” Primarily, Lang’s shouts and gruff growls relay lyrics centered around rebellion and reflective self-loathing—with “The True Face of Evil” serving as an excellent example of the former and “Flaw by Design” showcasing the latter. Where Lang’s vocals may not catch the listener’s attention based on diversity or style, there is no question they do an incredible job of getting his above-par lyrics suck in the listener’s head. “Flaw by Design” does that exceptionally well—as does his quick “kick it!” Shout at the beginning of “Cut Ties.” Where his vocals are average on their own, they work excellently with the band’s instrumentation and his lyricism both, adding to Delinquents’ dynamic.

True enough, Delinquents aren’t something new, and they sure as hell aren’t a trendy take on some sort of “fad-core” bandwagon. They take a time-tested style of no-holds-barred anger and ruthlessness and do it as well as a band with ten times their amount of experience. Face of Evil is furious from start to finish, as Delinquents excel at making devilish, dancy hardcore that is bound to level entire venues. Every song is a variation on the same theme—bringing a slight sense of monotony to the EP, but also making each song consistently blistering, as the quartet wind up on “The True Face of Evil” and don’t let up until the EP is done with. The very sound of adolescent aggression and juvenile bitterness, Delinquents are a driven and devastating hardcore band that do just about everything right.



For Fans Of: Trapped Under Ice, Terror, Lionheart, Madball, Bent Life

By: Connor Welsh