Comprised of members of great recent NYHC bands like Abject!, On The Offense, and Olde York, Examine erupt with their debut full length. Examine slows it down compared to some of the punkier predecessors; infusing that NYHC bounce. The album’s strength is reliant on crisp production and bruising riffs that sway in a groove. Deep bass lines propel taut tracks to inspire slick pit moves.
The opener, “Everybody Dies”, comes in with a Skarhead-type riff and delivery; drum pedals bandy quickly as a slow bass-driven chug. The album continues through 12 tracks of tough hardcore, brutally pounding away at your skull. “By Your own Hands” relies on a rap delivery, which is fun; hovering in an explosive chorus. The drums are tight, creating a foundation. “Moving Forward” is a stand-out track, with solid two-step beat and a triumphant chorus. Sean on vocals sounds between Anthony Comunale (Killing Time) and Jimmy Williams (Maximum Penalty). Then end of the song is a rapid burst.
Three tracks hit the 3:30 minute mark; everything else is between 1:00 – 2:30; no song ever overstays its welcome. “Foundation” and “Masked Up” are songs that push into high gear, racing at 4/4 beats; but also recede back into a slow, sludgy mosh. “Search” contains its unique song structure – after a cool atmospheric intro – getting into Van Vlack (Burn) writing territory. “Stay Clean”, the closer, holds a refreshing musical tone. It stands out from the others; a little play in the guitar, a little rock swag. Good variety throughout the CD never allows your finger to itch to hit skip.
Again, the bass work is extraordinary. The band knows this and lets it shine in the mix. Every element is crystal clear and hits hard. Drums unite to push certain songs ahead; and firmly root others. Guitars are thick but not over shadowing. Lyrically, Examine is NYHC. They talk about the streets and staying real. But the words are not monosyllabic one liners. They are honest and mature reflections upon life. “Reina” is an ode to a love that keeps a disgruntled, angry man in check. “With all my love – without you there would not be me” is spit over a staggering metal riff that’s really cool. Mostly, it sounds like lyrics are addressing the dynamics of friendships in this modern era.
RIYL: Skarhead, Crown Of Thornz, Maximum Penalty, Body Count, Sick Of It All (StS), Killing Time, Leeway, Burn