Lay It On the Line
Lockjaw/Fire Engine Red
Melodic hardcore quintet Lay It On the Line have been making positive strides in their career trajectory so far, thanks in part to a progressive, conceptual focus that sets them apart from many of their peers. This focus got personal their recent split with Belgian rockers Arizona (reviewed here) in which their two tracks covered the real life tragedy of their murdered friend. Hardcore is often powerful when telling a tale, but on that occasional it reaches incredibly intense levels. Their latest EP ‘Vigilance‘ returns to historical themes, this time centering around George Hutchinson, a witness who came forward following the death of Jack the Ripper’s final victim, Mary Jane Kelly, in Whitechapel.
This latest release sees a slightly more melodic shift and understandably a less personal slant that previously. There’s good intentions behind the tracks, but here it feels a little bit rushed – the shorter tracks seem to suffer a little as the band get through riffs before they’ve really had chance to take hold. It starts well, with ‘Condemned Parts I & II’ opening with a sample from Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart‘ before letting rip, continuing in satisfying vein with the traumatic atmosphere of ‘Petticoat Lane’.
I can only applaud a band for taking risks and Lay It On the Line clearly aren’t ones to shirk from that path, but on this occasion it’s unfortunately it finishes up inconsistent. ‘…And That Photo Made Me Feel Ill’ feels unfinished, sizing up for a possibly monstrous outro, instead leaving an initial source of confusion which hasn’t dissipated upon further listens. ‘You Little Ripper’ redeems this, featuring an awesome first couple of minutes, with the band on some of their best form yet, a mid-paced gnasher, before shifting into an acoustic, sample-laden outro and just seems to finish the record with a bit of a fizzle rather than a bang. Not quite on a par with their previous releases, but LiotL are still barely a year old and with their collective strength, don’t be surprised if they’ve got a true masterpiece hidden beneath their sleeves.
Buy/download ‘Vigilance‘ here (name-your-price)
Stream it below: