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Seminal political post-hardcore band Boysetsfire return from the grave


You know those moments where you discover a band just after they split up? That happened to me with US post-hardcore band Boysetsfire. After relentless pestering from a highschool friend, I finally took a chance on their sophomore album After The Eulogy. Considering this album now ranks in my top 20 of all time, I think it’s fair to say this band have had something of an impact on my listening habits.

But as I mentioned, they split up shortly after I found out about them, playing their final shows in 2007. This left me a long time to sit and stew in their releases, soaking in the mixture of political vitriol and occasional ventures into more relationship-based lyrics on top of what I feel is some of the best post-hardcore this side of Fugazi. Nathan Gray’s vocals have never failed to impress me, either in his ferocious screams or in his heartfelt energetic singing; an energy which is certainly shared with the rest of the band members.

To cut a long story short, I was ecstatic when the band reformed back in 2010, and even more so when I saw them in August 2011 play in a tiny yet packed-out 350-capacity venue in Bristol. To see the songs that I had heard so often in the studio brought to life onstage sent literal shivers down my spine, every band member playing with an enthusiastic vigor that few other bands I’ve seen have matched.

Now, finally, new material is going to be available. While A Nation Sleeps…, their fifth studio album, is set to be released on June 7th, just after they finish up their UK/European tour. Considering Gray’s excellent side-project I Am Heresy among the band’s other ventures, we can assume Boysetsfirehave far from lost their heavy-handed creative touch. For those more skeptical, the band have released the first song from this album, entitled “Bled Dry”, the first song the reunited band wrote. It’s a tightly-packed blast of a track, evoking what I consider the true spirit of political post-hardcore, going for the proverbial jugular in both the lyrics and the video content. While being on the heavier end of the scale (nothing new to the band, considering the track “The Force Majeure”), the song refrains from dissolving into the generic as each verse brings something new musically, and new face Dan Pelic has slotted in nicely on the drums.

Interestingly, the song is sandwiched between a snippet of Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” and a strange jazzy rendition of the opening verse from the Boysetsfire classic “Rookie”. We’ll have to see if this is a portent for the rest of the album, although needless to say While A Nation Sleeps… stands high on my list of anticipated releases.

You can pick up “Bled Dry” on 7-inch as part of Record Store Day on Saturday 20th April. Go here for information about Record Store Day.

N.B. Those who are sensitive to images of animal cruelty and violence may wish to minimize the window while the video is playing.

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