Lay It on the Line/Arizona
Fire Engine Red
South Londoners Lay It on the Line have been garnering attention in the underground scene for their progressively edged melodic hardcore, and on this latest release, a split with Belgian up-and-comers Arizona, they again raise the bar. A band whose songs regularly recount real life tales, sometimes personal. And here they sing about their friend, a man named Ben Gardner who was brutally murdered by three thugs in Sutton in 2010. It’s a horrible story to read and one indicative of the ugly side of drunken society here in the UK. It doesn’t get too much more personal than that, and LIOTL don’t let him down with a thoroughly furious performance. There’s a palpable sense of rage and anger about what happened, that pores right out of their music and through your speakers. These are their two longest songs to date, having thrashed them out a little faster on previous releases, and it’s a definite sign of a band that are already maturing into quite an outstanding outfit.
Arizona are a Belgian screamo band – now there’s a tag I haven’t used in a while. The long, long titles matched only pound for pound by US death metallers Nile were a source of frustration for me when younger, where expectation would often be left flat as it seemed such lyrics were just for show amid a cluttered scene. Maybe time away from all that has served me well. Maybe its my old age – I’m only 28, pushing 29, but part of me continues to mellow. In any event, I don’t find anything wholly inspiring or original about Arizona but at least they make a good fist of producing some quality to back up those huge song titles, with an anthemic and slightly bruising ‘I Knew A Girl Called Pandora, Never Got to See Her Box Though’, and an acoustic version of ‘I’m Not A Superhero, I’m a Latter Day Saint’ which sees the band briefly masquerade as lounge lizards while making their reflections.
Both bands are streaming the EP via their respective Bandcamp pages. Lay It on the Line offer it from zero on a name-your-price scheme, while Arizona are selling it for €5, and with their tracks sandwiching Lay It on the Line’s. The choice is yours, but you could do worse than give the EP a listen and a denomination in your currency of choice.
Stream it below: