By Reign Supreme
Fists come flying courtesy of Philadelphia's own wall of sound Reign Supreme. Taking shape as an almighty slab of dense but evocative hardcore that doesn't once try to masquerade its metallic influences. 'Testing The Limits Of Infinite' well and truly brings the fight, but manages not to ignore the band's very own penchant for emotional presence.
Produced by Will Putney, who has worked under Machine with distinguished artists ranging from Lamb of God to Every Time I Die, at The Machine Shop in New York, Testing The Limits never set out to tear down musical boundaries. Instead, the four-piece has poured their collective ideas into a vast mixing pot and solidified each common goal into something punishing, unforgiving, yet at times heightened by an innate passion - instilling a 'larger than life' atmosphere. That anthemic quality is something vocalist Jay Pepito is sincerely brazen in approach to. "I want them [the listener] to know that hardcore still makes me feel like every lyric is an anthem to my disillusioned youth." Jay stated he wanted to write a record not unlike Age Of Quarrel but for his generation, all the while drawing influence from Sepultura, Pantera and other 90's metal.
The Band, completed by guitarist Mike Doto, bassist Klint Kanopka and Joe Vergaraon on drums, have showcased a monumental thirteen track outing, where each burst comes as a revitalizing wake up call to the joys of unrelenting metal inflections; skewered at the navel by shape and familiarity undeniably rooted in hardcore. Tracks such as the reworked 'Apostle' instantaneously bombast the senses with enough conviction to rattle your vital organs, sharply followed by the twin peaks of 'In Absentia' and 'Failure' which flare into thundering giants of metalcore, unyielding but far from predictable. The polarizing 'Waiting' meanders the path further, an instrumental niche in the bud of the record.
Studio tricks and engineering know-how have played their role in uprooting this record and subsequently this band from the platitude and pit-falls of a genre dangerously teetering on the edge of being stale, but in reality it's Reign Supreme's own notions of overcoming expectation that have really spurred them on to deliver a great metalcore record.
This is a band that can follow the same pattern that has been around since the 90's and take it up several notches without evolving it too far past the point of being accessible. A truly great record.