A Wilhelm Scream

A cross between the melodic punk of Lawrence Arms and the churning hardcore of Rise Against, AWS combines a high quotient of both heft and hooks. Original drummer Nicholas Pasquale Angelini is the beast's backbone, driving tempo like Jeff Gordon and keying a thick bottom end worthy of J.Lo. Atop them sit the dueling guitars and singer Nuno Pereira's vocals, veering from plaintive croon to angry roar. It's a sturdy package boasting a heavyweight punch and the melodic footwork to keep it from plodding like many hardcore peers. But superstitious people might question the name of the group's recent third full-length, Career Suicide. Ten days before the disc dropped, guitarist Chris Levesque quit the band, unwilling to endure the grind of yet another tour (Levesque's tenure went back a half-dozen years, to when the New Bedford, Massachusetts hardcore crew was called Smackin' Isaiah). Like all AWS releases, Suicide was recorded with ex-Descendent/Black Flag member Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, NOFX). The new disc is lighter, elevating the pace, yet it somehow sounds even catchier. With amusing song titles — "Less Bright Eyes, More Deicide," "Me vs. Morrissey in the Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)" — and anthemic energy, it's like Fall Out Boy after their grapes drop.

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