It makes me feel a little bit old hearing new bands take influence from bands I grew up loving, but then I realize that means more good music, and it’s easy to get over the sting of the passage of time. Lay It On The Line is a new melodic hardcore group from the UK, comprised of local scene veterans, most notably a member from sludge/metalcore riff-lords Hang The Bastard. They feature two vocalists, one male and one female, who trade off lines with ease. Their sound mixes 90s skate punk, metallic hardcore, and a pre-Defeater strain of melodic hardcore. None of their press materials explicitly state it, but their debut reeks (in a very delightful way) of Comeback Kid. The Black Museum is a frantic, furious, and catchy affair that, while a tad uneven, reminds me of some of the great mid-00s melodic hardcore beyond Winnipeg’s greatest export (and my favorite melodic hardcore band), namely With Honor, Ambitions, and Give Up The Ghost.
Not every track is equally charming, but when the band ups the metallic ante, things get gnarly. Once the title track kicks in, with a very eerie sample, The Black Museum kicks it into high gear. “Oreo Speedwagon” (nice) leans heavily on a wicked bass line, and “Positive Views” is an odd but aggressively fun ode against optimism. Even when things get a bit more rote (“Aim High” and “Level Up”), the quality never dips below solid. There’s a nice mix of the personal and the political, as the lyrical diversity is a nice touch.
That about sums up the debut for these South London punks: solid. The Black Museum never quite breaks apart from their obvious mid-00s melodic hardcore influences, but the choice injection of 90s metallic riffing at times is something they can build upon to create a more lasting and unique impression. As it stands, Lay It On The Line at least offer up a wickedly enjoyable throwback take on melodic hardcore.