The Departed – ‘Steal The Crown’

By Chris Marshman

Over the last ten years, the UK has found itself playing host to a burgeoning hardcore scene that could rival that of any country. Bands such as Azriel, Your Demise and More Than Life have helped to spread the word of hardcore outside of their home-town’s respective scenes to a much wider audience, and Grimsby’s The Departed can count themselves in that club. They’ve been toting their own personal blend of melodic hardcore since 2006, clocking up tours both at home and in Europe with hardcore royalty such as Defeater and Terror. Now, seven years after their inception, the band have finally released their second full length entitled ‘Steal the Crown’, and while there is certainly no denying that the band have both the talent and the passion to go along with their stringent hardcore ideologies, you can’t help be go into the album without expecting to have heard it all before.

According to the band, ‘Steal the Crown’ is about “the anger and aggression of a world sick to the teeth of being downtrodden”, an almost-narrative that is clear from the word go. The record begins with a short yet haunting prelude that serves to coerce listeners in to a false sense of security before second track ‘Faithless’ sets about bludgeoning them with uncompromising riffs and vocals so caustic they could strip paint. There is anger and aggression aplenty across the course of the record’s 12 tracks but occasional moments of optimism are allowed to permeate the violet veneer, taking the form of uplifting choruses and gang vocals that are expertly juxtaposed against The Departed’s brutal backdrop of breakneck riffs and unrelenting percussion.

That said, it takes the first six tracks before ‘Steal the Crown’ really seems to come in to itself with ’15 Minutes Fame’ and ‘Fools Will Follow’, the latter of which concludes on a particularly high note with a weighty breakdown and shared vocal duties crowning the track nicely. It isn’t that the tracks in the former half of the record are of a lesser quality than the second half, it’s just that the later tracks don’t bleed in to one another in much the same way the others do. The band do enough to diversify in these tracks that each begins to reveal a certain degree of previously unseen autonomy, allowing the record its own sense of identity and allowing it to escape being “yet another hardcore record”.

Hardcore bands really are ten for a penny these days, so you really need to do something different to stand out in that sea of overused clichés – luckily for The Departed, ‘Steal the Crown’ just about manages to keep them afloat where others go belly up around them, and though the band aren’t breaking any boundaries when it comes down to it, they’re able to deliver the goods. The fact that their career has lasted as long as it has is a testament to their ethos and ethics as much as it is their music, and fans certainly won’t be disappointed by what’s on show here. Aficionados of the genre could easily do a lot worse than picking up a copy of ‘Steal the Crown’.

DAVE BEECH

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