Bashdown - Pushing The Envelope
After they got quite some good critics for their debut album, the German metal / hardcore band Bashdown starts 2021 with their second album release: Pushing The Envelope is going to be released on 22nd January, with the mission to proof that they have the potential to establish in the international metal scene. I was really curious when I was able to listen to their new release Pushing the Envelope.
Bashdown – About The Artists
Bashdown have been founded in Hanover, Germany, in 2018. The band consists of four members. Helge Haß is the leader on the microphone. Martin Blankenburg (guitar) and Florian Krause (bass) are the guys at the strings, while Janis Haag is the master of the rhythm machine. Their debut album was the 2019 A New Set of Problems, which was quite good in the critics, but had rather moderate success in regards of streams. The two most successful tracks of the album were Karma and Honestly?. Stating to promote Pushing The Envelope, the band released two singles in 2020, which are part of their second album, Create A God and Checkmate.
Bashdown – Pushing The Envelope – Track by Track
The thirteen track album lasts 41 minutes.
The album starts with Checkmate, which the band also selected as one of the singles of Pushing the Envelope: The song is indeed catching – but it also also getting into your mind easily as the 3:06 minute song is extremely repetitive – Bashdown is doing more checkmates in these three minutes of your life than Garri Kasparov did in his whole career.
2. Create A God
Can Bashdown establish in the genres they are playing? With Create A God, the second songs released as singles before the album is the second song of the album. Do they start the album with all their finest stuff? Let’s see later. Create A God is closer to the punk elements of hardcore than Checkmate, which felt much more like pure metalcore to me. The creation of gods requires quite a lot of metal screaming, though.
3. The Chosen One
In my point of you, The Chosen One is just not as good as the first two tracks. I like the melodic background elements, but especially the vocals are not as precise as in the first two recordings. The background choir shouting for Justice is however a nice sing-a-long element and will likely be loved by the Bashdown supporters.
U comes with a lot of speed and rhythm. Also due to its short duration (just about two and a half minute) and the repetitive shouting including the F-word, it is somehow entertaining. Not the most complex plot in music lyrics history, though.
Demonize is a perfect illustration of a characteristic track on Pushing The Envelope: the sound is not all bad, the guitars give a good powerful bedding for the shouting. Good ingredients for a headbanging party time – but overall none of the elements is really catching enough that it catches you and lifts your mood to the top level. The song is just average.
Not including the first two songs (which still feel to be on another level), Hell-Bent is my favorite track of the album so far. The reason is simply that the vocals and the guitars are driving the song, they give a marching groove. The march to hell is unstoppable on track number 6.
7. If I Were You
If I manage to read e-mails or news articles while writing a review, this is always a crucial sign that the music is not at the level it could be: I like the bridge of If I Were You, but especially towards the end, the song is rather disturbing and does not really please me.
8. Right Off The Bat
Right Off The Bat is a track, which is rather on my favorite side again, indeed. The song has more power, more speed, than many other tunes on the album. Unfortunately, the finish of the song feels that the band was a bit surprised how quickly this one came to an end – and then they protracted the song. Unnecessary – this eighth track would have been better if it ended 15 seconds earlier.
Duplicity is very often an issue on this album. I call it “too repetitve”. This track, however, comes with a quite complex and frequently changing plot. Not my favorite one, but at least not a bad one at all.
10. Get A Grip
Get A Grip starts promising, the intro could easily be the feature for a haunted house. Overall, the song is a positive surprise to me, as it again and again relates back to this atomosphere and also has a stronger hardcore / punk touch compared to many other songs of the album. Good one.
11. Truth Is
Especially during the chorus shouting of Truth Is it came to my mind that a part of vocal quality is that – despite the lyrics are screamed / shouted – they should be clear, understandable and pronounced. “Trusis” just sounds different. Some of these small negative things – which would not be worth mentioning individually, but just sum up during the forty minutes of the album. It’s really sad, as there feels to be much more potential in Bashdown.
12. Cleaning House
Songs about housework are of course a topic which is generally underrepresented in the world of metal music. And even though this vacuum cleaner might be one made of pure metal, it is quite an enjoyable track. The drums sound a bit too cheap here and then – but apart from that, the song is great fun.
13. Too Big (For My Bitches)
The thirteenth track finishes the album with a reasonable feeling. Too Big (For My Bitches) might be a bit too explicit in lyrics. Again, the song is repeating the same element again and again – don’t buy this one on vinyl, you might feel that your record player is broken. Nonetheless, there is a catching element in this song, you just cannot argue against it.
Bashdown – Pushing The Envelope – Spotify
Here is Pushing The Envelope on Spotify:
Bashdown – Pushing The Envelope – My View
Metal Olymp or middle class? Bashdown do not feel ready (yet) for the climb up to the sunny hills of the gods of guitars, drums and headbanging. The songs are just very repetitive without being really good. Some tracks, however, show that there is more potential in the Hanover combo. In 2021, these tracks are still too sparse. Maybe the boys can do the next step next time. So far, let’s look forward to have them on stage – I guess that they will be a lot of fun if they are performing live.
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