In The Presence
CD | INIT-39
"Also new from Init Records is the "In the Presence" CD from Back When, which collects an assortment of tracks that provide insight into the band's progression from the relatively standard chaotic, noisy metalcore of their earliest EP to the sludgier and more artistic direction explored from the "We Sang As Ghosts" full-length to the present. Included are songs from the "Swords Against the Father" 7" and the split 7" with The Setup, as well as an unreleased demo, remix, and Jerome's Dream cover. The result is a series of two- to three-minute fits where dense rhythms and droning clean passages start to seep in amidst frantically acerbic jumbles of riffs and shouting/screaming - until said acerbic characteristics start to dissipate and compositions begin to top five to seven minutes of much more dynamically fluid transitions and emotionally moving atmospheres. I'm still not a particular fan of Back When's earlier material, but the growth they've exhibited since then is extremely impressive, admirable, and promising; so this disc is a great document of that growth and very clearly demonstrates just how far they've come. I'm very much looking forward to hearing some of their forthcoming new material...This is another cheap one at $8 from the label, so make the grab if this is your thing." - Andrew
"Init Records is one of the main labels quietly putting out solid releases without any real attention or accolades. Itís a shame, but I feel that a label with as many quality releases as Init has had will not be flying so low under the radar for long. One band that could certainly speed that process along is Back When, an incredibly talented four-piece that calls to mind such genre heavyweights as Engineer and Buried Inside.
Fortunately, Back When is not a retread or carbon copy of either of those, and the collection titled In the Presence should go a long way to solidify their niche in the world of heavy music. This record amasses tracks from several 7Ēs, demos and remixes to put forth half an hour's worth of churning and explosive music thatís as heavy as it is dynamic.
Like the two previously mentioned bands, Back When rely heavily on crescendo. Itís all about the buildup and the expectation. The brooding destruction, thatís pensive at first, slowly coming out of the shell and increasing in volume, until finally released in a torrent of crunching riffs and guttural screams that shake the very foundation of everything that helped build it up to that point. Every aspect of every song works toward the inevitable climax that pays off the six or seven minutes spent listening in the first place. And though itís by no means a revolutionary formula, Iíd be a liar if I tried to deny the impact or the gravity that it holds.
The best testament to this approach of songwriting is to point out when it works, and on ďWe Giveth and We Taketh,Ē it works flawlessly. As these songs often do, it begins delicately enough, with the ominous plucking of some extremely low-tuned strings, until out of nowhere thereís an eruption.
That eruption is the deep and devastating vocals that appear all over this record, reeking nothing short of havoc with the power they possess. On their own, formidable enough, but when accompanying the deep pound of the bass drum and deeper grooves of the bass guitar, itís an unstoppable and unrelenting combination. Offset only slightly by the hint of melody in those chords, the band trudges through all seven minutes of the track, picking up steam along the way, slowing only briefly to add to the ominous feel of impending devestation set in the first 30 seconds of the track. Itís far from the only instance of this kind of songwriting, but itís the best example, and itís what works.The only thing remotely capable of slowing these guys down is their own penchant for creating mystique, for creating a buildup that makes the payoff all the more powerful. They have it down to a finely tuned craft." (4 stars out of 5)
Give Me Back #52: