Wasting Away EP
It’s my own personal opinion that British hardcore is in need of a band who doesn’t just scream anger and basically play with complete punk energy all the time. There’s no harm in doing that particularly, but however much maligned old-school hardcore seems for its focus on brutal breakdowns and slam moments, I really don’t think it would harm for one or two bands to real smash listeners’ faces in by supplying these moments more often, rather than retreading what seems to have become old ground. If Bristol’s Failure to Follow are anything to go by, my message is perhaps somehow transmitting across.
The intro track ‘B.C.H.C.’, is designed to get you, the listener, pumped and ready for action, chugging and twin pedalling as it lurches back and forth on the edge of an all out assault. It leads nicely into ‘The Burn’, a furiously raging hardcore anthem that would literally be that if this band were of the ilk of acts like Madball or Agnostic Front. It screams, growls and surges through three minutes, even allowing for a rock n’ roll style outro at the end as if to celebrate their achievement – whether that be an awesome song or pit destruction is anyone’s guess.
So satisfying is that opening salvo, ‘Wasting Away’ often fights to keep up the momentum. Though main vocalist Tom Williams and shared vocals from the rest of the band do their best to maintain the fury, some of that raw energy is lost during ‘No Unity’, thanks to a section of high-end melodic shredding that, while showing a diverse side to the band, chips away at the momentum gained during the opening. Not that I find it terrible, far from it, but its an effect that to me feels to have been done to death and I’m not sure I can find anything beneficial to that technique here, particularly with the song verging on a five-minute length, longer than most hardcore bands aim for in terms of song duration. Still, that doesn’t stop Failure to Follow from plowing ahead, and the incredible power rage of ‘Strike Back’ is plain to see, with clenched teeth screams and gang vocals alternating a cry of ‘WE WILL STRIKE BACK!’ following a fantastic shift from the main riff into a monster breakdown.
I will say that there are parts about this release that I hugely enjoy, and others not so much. It’s incredibly difficult to stand out in a scene which is absolutely full of bands wanting to get their voice heard, and I don’t think ‘Wasting Away’ is without its flaws. Melodicism can be great, but in a scene done to death it can be as much a curse as a blessing.
Despite my slight complaints, I am without doubt that Failure to Follow will surely become a major player, not just in Bristol City Hardcore, but in UK Hardcore as well. And who knows, maybe beyond? Its still early days for these guys yet and I’m not sure such pressure is welcoming. That said, ‘Wasting Away’ is, at large, an impressive first step, and Failure to Follow are certainly a band with huge potential. I do feel that UK hardcore sometimes gets lost in falling over itself to stand out. If more acts actually got the simple aspects right, those being the energy, the passion, the quality of the music and the ability to possess its listener combined, you’d have more acts as dangerous, exciting and worthy of huge circle pits as Failure to Follow.