KICKBACK - No Surrender

Kickback - No Surrender

11 songs
37:24 minutes
***** ****


With a history that started in the very early Nineties, Kickback from Paris must be one of the oldest, still active hardcore bands from France. Granted, it’s been nearly ten years since their last album Les 150 Passions Meurtrières, but the quartet hasn’t forgotten how to make a fantastic album. With a sound rooted in metallic hardcore before metalcore was even invented, Kickback present eleven songs that come totally unfashionably without any references to Swedish death metal or other such modern commodities.

You’d guess with eleven songs not even clocking in at forty minutes that the band has opted for rather short songs, but then you’re mistaken. Four tracks are crossing the five minute border, while other ones are really short, making it obvious that Kickback are more interested in dynamic and varied structures than in just delivering crowd pleasing hardcore tunes. Already the opener and title track is a wonderful tour de force, starting out quite fast before a break turns it into something threateningly slow, without robbing any of the aggressive momentum. This pattern is repeated all over the album. The songs are rarely, if ever, catchy, instead we get a full load of intense hardcore music with tons of tortured emotions and dark feelings. The guitars have learned their metal lessons, but they master the old thrash school à la Slayer just as well as the extreme tonalities of the sludge and drone sub-genres.

All of this makes a No Surrender not only a splendidly unpredictable, but also an unexpectedly winning album. The vocalist shrieks like a rabid dog, the guitars unleash one metallic onslaught after another, and the rhythm section is pounding everything to pieces. Several spoken word parts add dramatic effect.

Many young hardcore fans who only know the contemporary metalcore sound might be scared away by the sheer brutality of this, but those who were born some years earlier will be more than happy that Kickback have not only returned, but are still better than most of those that followed. No Surrender might very well be the best hardcore album I have heard this year!

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