Album: Thousand Mile Stare
New York has—in all the years I’ve been alive, and several more before that—always been a hub of just about all means of communication. Financial trading, fashion trends, language, cinema…if it’s worth knowing, having, seeing, or especially hearing, it seems as if it’s got its roots planted somewhere in New York. This has been true for several bands in the hardcore scene throughout the decades, but it is especially true of mosh-friendly miscretins and overlords of all things “NYHC,” Incendiary. With their 2017 release Thousand Mile Stare, the band continue beating their way into the listener’s head the only way they know have; brash breakdowns, ferocious, quick riffs and hard-hitting, anthemic song structure that takes a traditional hardcore backbone and gives it a slight metallic edge while infusing it with a thick, infectious dose of punk. Incendiary prove once more that they are just that—fire starters fueled by flames from Hell itself, bent on lighting a wildfire between the listener’s head that will get fists spinning, feet moving and heads banging without a second thought.
Thousand Mile Stare is, simply put, raw and ruthless from start to finish. Without remorse, Incendiary wage war on the listener’s ears in a way that draws from their chaotic New York surroundings and runs them through a shredder, force-feeding them track by track, breakdown by breakdown. Songs like the explosive “Front Toward Enemy” and “Awakening” see intense percussion stealing the show, hammering away with the speed and candor of a Clydesdale on crack-cocaine. Meanwhile, “Hard Truths Cut Both Ways” is a more moderately paced, low-end-heavy track where bass adds depth and crushing density to the dismal, chest-cracking heaviness that defines the track. Together, the bass and percussion provide a steady and sturdy drive that roars beneath jarring and frantic fretwork that ranges from quick riffs on “No Purity” and “Still Burning,” to the aforementioned moody and gritty thickness of “Hard Truths Cut Both Ways,” and the gloomy “Hanging From the Family Tree,” which takes quick pace and clashes it with bitter, brooding lyrical content, making it a schizophrenic and spastic example of the band’s energetic dynamic. Throughout Thousand Mile Stare, Incendiary roam from speed to speedier, dropping into gritty, hefty breakdowns and fist-swinging beatdown-inducing moments of modern and murderous aggression—making the band’s instrumental element catchy and fun while equally crushing and powerful.
The sharpest part of the pointed display of punchy, no-holds-barred aggression that is Incendiary is found, without a doubt, within the band’s vocal and lyrical element. Where the instrumentation bombards the listener with a fervor of quick, jagged riffs and pummeling percussion, the band’s lyrics and harsh, grating vocals cut deeper than anything else. Songs like “Hanging from the Family Tree” are exemplary of this, with the song’s oscillatory nature moving hither and to between lurid, knife-dragging bitterness and pure, powerful and pissed-off speed, the lyrics that define the song hit harder than a wrecking ball smashing through a stained glass window. Meanwhile, songs like “No Purity” and “Front Toward Enemy” are a little less poetic and personal and a lot more vengeful, taking furious swings at the listener with vocal styles that range from shrill, strained yells to bitter and more varied, deep bellows. Incendiary’s vocal approach is, while maybe not unique in the bigger picture of the style of music they play, it remains all the same an excellent and fitting effort that serves as a vector for brilliant and relatable lyricism; refreshing when many bands keep regurgitating iterations of the same, worn-out messages.
While their discography alone is proof enough that Incendiary have earned their name, Thousand Mile Stare stands as the band’s most energetic and infernally aggressive release to date. Driving and devastating through its duration, the band are a well-oiled machine with a heart driven by piss and vinegar pure enough to get paraplegics up and swinging arms and legs like a windmill in a tsunami. Fans of their old material will without a doubt find solace in the sound prevalent on Thousand Mile Stare, and previous skeptics will be entirely won over. Incendiary have crafted an album for fans of all things quick and explosive—all things synonymous with hardcore—and they’re bound to light the underground ablaze with it.
For Fans Of: Madball, Downswing, Terror, Modern Life is War
By: Connor Welsh