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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