So ever since our reviews department developed, Chung has generally tackled reviewing the louder, more hardcore bands, while I've found my area of expertise to be in that of bands who have mastered a more melodic, tranquil stylistic approach toward music in which they utilize harmony and--okay, I review the wimpier bands. But that doesn't mean I don't headbang to Fear Before The March Of Flames as hard as the next guy, and I'm certainly as "hardcore" as Chung. So when this CD by Time In Malta fell in our laps, I quickly claimed the rights to the review.
         The band is on Equal Vision Records, a scene favorite for the newest wave of hardcore bands. Along with Time In Malta and the aforementioned FBTMOF, bands on this label include Alexisonfire, Converge, Coheed & Cambria, and Give Up The Ghost. And Armor For Sleep, which doesn't really fit well here, but I guess every label needs an odd-man-out in terms of style. Looking at the roster of their label, as well as their CD cover--is the lighting just tripped out, or is he standing in the middle of a forest fire...? Could that be Smokey the Bear on Time In Malta's album cover?--the impression one almost instantly gets is that Time In Malta is a standard hardcore band.
         I wish I could say that they're radically different from your immediate assumption, but Time In Malta is indeed a textbook hardcore band. But for those of you anti-society rebels who are thinking that typical is bad, Time In Malta's Alone With The Alone is not the same as any other hardcore CD. The sound is definitely heavy and intense with harsh tones and angry vocals, but the tracks are not especially fast. Chris Lyon does not hide his guitarwork beneath a pile of distortion, displaying is talent to the world. Todd's vocals are actually very similar to Chuck's from Hot Water Music--sorry if that's a turn-off for some of you.
         The lyrics are consistently depressing and angry, as is standard for hardcore bands. "Bare Witness" sounds like it could have been written during the Russian Revolution. One surprise, however, is that following the brief instrumental intro track, the band's intense anger and ferocious chaos becomes more refined and structured as the CD goes along. The band never loses its edge, but definitely becomes less grungy, especially around the vocals.
         So let's summarize for a moment... Time In Malta may be using the same paint set as everyone else, but they brought their own canvas. The songs are packed with emotion, providing a definite sigh of relief after an era of bands void of emotion. While the band is definitely labelmates with bands like Converge for a reason, those fans of the less hardcore persuasion shouldn't miss out.
R.S. '04
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Equal Vision
1) Forty Seven
<< 2) Bare Witness >>
3) Tightrope
4) Louder Than Bombs
5) Ghosts
6) What Are We Afraid Of?
7) Fused As One
8) Perform The Surgery
9) Catalyst
10) Event Horizon
11) Start With Me
12) The Wayfarer
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