Loud screaming and driving, pounding beats, that’s what really good hardcore, emo-punk music is supposed to be about. Right? If that’s the case Enlow has the formula down with their CD, The Recovery. They throw another angle into the mix, though, and that is a Christian message.
I find it to be an interesting mix, and one that must be gaining in popularity, as I have heard a few screaming hardcore bands delivering this positive message music, one being The Perfect Addiction, which I reviewed in January.
I remember when I was younger and the band Stryper was considered groundbreaking for bringing forth their message in the form of hard rock. I suppose this trend is taking that just one step further and popularizing it for the modern day. The big difference between Stryper, or The Perfect Addiction, and Enlow is that the former groups make it work.
The band’s intention is to deliver “songs dealing with finding hope and encouragement, even through times of personal loss,” an honorable and lofty goal, but one they fall quite short of in the delivery. Even though the individual elements of the blueprint seem to be great in their own right, the result of the mix doesn’t quite make the grade. It’s thunderous and it’s powerful, and I actually like the music alone. The quality and the message of the lyrics is solid and potent by themselves. Where it falters is in the presentation of those lyrics. It’s not that they are screamed more then they are sung, because that technique isn’t new to me, and I actually can appreciate enhancing the anger with a shattering delivery. What Enlow brings, however, is a constant ear-splitting pitch that had me reaching for the Advil.
On their Myspace Profile Enlow features streaming MP3s of two tracks from The Recovery, “Calling Out the Oppressor” and “Taking Chances”. Occasionally you will get a gentle tease of some melody, but for the most part, prepare yourself to be screamed at from the top of their lungs.
The CD is produced by Stephen Egerton, famous for his work with MXPX, Less Then Jake, and his own band, The Descendants. Having read that before I put the CD in the player, I expected a bit more. Was it a matter of me setting the bar too high? I don’t think so. I usually try to stay pretty open minded and listen to a CD several times before writing a review. Before penning this, I tried . . . I really tried, but in practice I could only take a few tracks at a time before I just had to turn it off.
The Recovery is Enlow’s second CD, and actually the band has been reformed between this and their first release The Desperate Letters (both released on the Blood and Ink label).