WORDS: Eddie Sims
You’ll hear a lot of people talking about just how great the UK hardcore scene is at the moment, and rightly so. The genre is thriving and the scene ever growing, with new bands constantly arriving to join the impressive roster. CONTINENTS have been a staple of the scene for the past few years, as they’ve made an impact with their fusion of high energy punk and the weighty crush of riff driven breakdowns. Despite their sound resembling a Frankenstein’s creation of elements that they take off of a number of already established acts, they work and temper them into a sound that has, by and large, given CONTINENTS the identity they need to finally break free of the underground constraints and invade the mainstream.
Drowned in Hate opens the album with sufficient kick, the stereotypical beatdown intro making way for the first of many almost Cancer Bats style riffs, that come thick and fast with little respite. CONTINENTS are at their best with their teeth firmly sunk into the flesh and their eyes staring down the target, and for the most part that’s what Reprisal does best. The Stand has an old school hardcore swagger that comes with the initial chugs of the opening breakdown whilst LOVE, LOATHE, LOSS has no issue with throwing its weight around for the nothing less than incredibly chaotic three minutes it plays for. It’s clear that throughout all of Reprisal CONTINENTS are clearly taking inspiration from the more well known acts from the scene and this can be distracting, but for the most part all of the elements come together into a cohesive sound that not only draws you in but also captivates and entertains, with enough variation going on through the songs to keep even the dullest of hardcore tropes from weighing down the album.
One trope that is apparently impossible to escape is the feature of an interlude track that once again does nothing but simply add in an unneeded break from the momentum gathered by the previous songs. Simply just having the far more quiet and atmospheric introduction to title track Reprisal would’ve been enough to slow the pace enough without completely detracting from the rest of the album worked to achieve. It’s a pity because both Reprisal and the following song Awakening both offer the biggest variation to the sound the rest of the album makes its identity around, instead utilising massive crescendos and a few attempted melodic passages to relieve the pressure somewhat before dunking you head first back into the riptide.
With their second full length, CONTINENTS have really started to establish themselves within the thriving underground circuit but also as a legitimate band to keep an eye over the coming years. With material as cohesive as the songs that make up Reprisal it’s clear that CONTINENTS are very soon about to make their way up the ranks. Despite falling back on some debilitating tropes, Reprisal is every bit as vital and aggressive as any modern hardcore record should be but also shows a flicker of the identity that these Welsh lads need to make that next jump.
Reprisal is out now via Victory Records.