Advent – Pain & Suffering EP


Artist

Album

Pain & Suffering EP

Label

Bridge Nine Records

Year

2017

For Fans Of

AXIS, Blistered, 100 Demons, Discourse, Renounced.

Summary

Get pitted for Jesus.

Rating

75 / 100

Rising out of the ashes of post-hardcore act Beloved, North Carolina’s Advent came to prominence in the late 2000’s with their own brand of crushingly violent, yet devoutly spirited metallic hardcore. After releasing two full-length albums – 2008’s ‘Remove the Earth’ and 2009’s ‘Naked and Cold’ – on Solid State Records, they disbanded in 2011 to pursue other avenues (vocalist Joe Musten, who was the original drummer for Beloved, went on to play drums in The Almost, with Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie), before quietly reuniting once more in 2015. Much like their namesake, this second coming saw the band return to the live circuit and announce a forthcoming release, in the form of a four-track EP, titled ‘Pain & Suffering’, to be released through Bridge Nine Records.

Now, with all this considered, how does Advent’s return to the stage stack up?

Well, in truth, it sounds like they never really left. Kicking off with ‘Wind From The Valley’, Musten uses his commanding bark-meets-growl combo to scream, “What is this pain?/What is this suffering?” And then, all hell breaks loose, when guitarist Mike ‘Jichael‘ Rich and bassist Johnny Smrdel get down to business with chugging lead riffs and stomping rhythms. As the eerie middle section opens up, Musten’s cries are echoed by a repeated, gang-vocal refrain of “Pain!/Suffering!”, all before a dissonant, staccato breakdown digs in like a jackhammer to the spine.

ADVENT PROMO

Second track ‘Weight of the World‘ ups the tempo with a blistering, hardcore punk feel, all combined with a multi-pronged vocal attack, swinging two-step and a pummelling, double-kick assault courtesy of drummer Jordan McGee. Lyrically, Musten’s narrative begins with the tired, hardcore trope of “break these chains”, and then decisively switches gears, proudly declaring that “Religion has never set men free/Religious guilt, dies with me.” It’s an odd message, for a band that typically features very God-heavy lyrics, yet it hits home and gets capped off masterfully with some crossover guitar heroics and a roaring divebomb.

There’s a steady change of pace with ‘Shadow of Death’ and it’s slow, crawling heaviness. It’s by far the weakest track on the EP, and if anything, it sounds like a bunch of 30-second riff ideas, hastily stitched together with some solid drum parts. As if contemplating the existential crisis from the previous track, Musten talks here about the loss of loved-ones and ponders, “Do I really believe/that death is not the end?” Closer ‘BrickXBrick’ is the longest track, and rounds the EP out with sludgy sections, slamming beatdowns and sizzling cymbals. Half way through, the mood stretches out with pounding, ominous drums and screeching guitars, that build to an almost progressive, belaboured and venomous finale.

Conclusion

This EP proves that Advent is most definitely back in the game: pissed-off, angry, and as destructive as ever. It’s also safe to say that ‘Pain & Suffering’ does not re-invent the wheel for metallic hardcore, but realistically, it doesn’t have to. While it can feel slightly repetitive at times, especially from a structural standpoint, it’s clear that the band is most effective when they’re ruthlessly smashing the listener over the head with chunky riffs for 19 minutes, rather than blitzing right past them. Fans of the band’s previous full-lengths will definitely be stoked with these new tracks, at least as a tie-over until their next album (fingers crossed), even if nothing on offer here even comes close to the mighty ‘One Crushing Blow’.

Christian hardcore’s most criminally underrated preachers are back at the pulpit, and the next sermon is sure to be a heavy one.

Tracklisting

  1. Wind From The Valley
  2. Weight Of The World
  3. Shadow Of Death
  4. BrickXBrick

‘Pain & Suffering’ is available now through Bridge Nine Records. Repent and order the EP here.

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