Comeback Kid is:
Andrew Neufeld – vocals, guitar
Jeremy Hiebert – guitar
Stu Ross – rhythm guitar
Matt Kail – bass
Kyle Profeta – drums
Comeback Kid – Die Knowing
1. Die Knowing
2. Lower The Line
3. Wasted Arrows
4. Losing Sleep [feat. Pauly Correia]
5. Should Know Better
6. I Depend, I Control
7. Somewhere In This Miserable...
10. Didn't Even Mind
11. Full Swing [feat. Scott Wade]
12. Sink In
Running time: 32:45
Comeback Kids, for all intents and purposes, should be dead and berried by now. They only formed as a side project to Figure Four, and here they are over a decade later at the peak of their popularity despite going through one of the hardest hurdles a band can endure – the tricky task of having to replace a lead vocalist. Regardless of how much a singer contributes to a band in terms of writing and creativity, a singer is one of the most important ways in which fans will identify with a band, so it was a bold move to replace the departing Scott Wade when he left in 2005. But the band plough ahead with former guitarist Andrew Neufeld filling the role as lead singer. The first record since the change, 2007's Broadcasting... was a polarizing effort, while Symptoms + Cures, released in 2010, saw the band really refine their sound and capitalize on what was becoming a cult following. Fast forward to Die Knowing and you get the impression that this is a band only just beginning to hit its stride.
Die Knowing is the band's fifth studio album overall and although it may not be the band's fastest or heaviest, it's quite clearly the most confident outing yet. You can practically see the confidence growing in Neufeld as a vocalist from record to record and here he sounds like a fully-fledge frontman, flaunting it for the first time, commanding attentions with his ill-tempered vocals that peak with the venomous “Should Know Better,” a rabble-rouser of a track if ever there was one. For the first time, you can really picture Neufeld as a conductor, stood front and centre on stage orchestrating the largest, most-violent circle pits an audience can muster. And this is an image that pops into your head from the get-go, from the way the title track builds menacingly and Neufeld's vocal breaks through the wall, less like a wrecking ball and more a giant, swinging fist.
Elsewhere the band seems to have written this record with half an eye on a live setting as the punk aspects of tracks like “Lower the Line” definitely seem like they're already waiting to pander to a live crowd. That's not necessarily a bad thing here, as it gives the songs a certain energy that many like on the band's previous album. You can picture the chaos a track like “Unconditional” will create in a small festival tent filled with dirty, sweating teens slipping in the mud. Die Knowing encourages the camaraderie to help pick each other back up before going full steam ahead once again though. And while these songs will undoubtedly succeed in such a setting, you get the impression that they're design to appease fans old and new alike, with a more power-chord driven, hook-laden vibe on tracks like “Beyond” hoping to catcher a younger audience where the sheer speed and brutality of a “Wasted Arrows” will endure to long-time fans.
If there are criticisms to be offered, it's that the record suffers from overproduction, oftentimes clashing with the gritty, organic nature of the album. Sure, there's something to be said for wanting your recording to be crisp enough that you can make out every note, but at times the tracks come over a little forced and occasionally a bit too polished. With music of this nature, you're looking for raw power, not machine-driven industry. “I Depend, I Control” is perhaps one of the worst offenders, with its deep bass line and pummelling riffs punctuated by another crazed vocal offering. The gang-vocals on “Beyond” sound out of place and there's one or two instances where the wall of noise that is the wailing guitars overshadow the vocal offerings of Neufeld. These are only small complaints, but it's the type of issue that will isolate a certain segment of the potential audience. For the most part, Die Knowing is a confident and stirring addition to band's already stellar back catalogue.
Comeback Kid - “Should Know Better"
The 411: Against all the odds, Comeback Kid continue its miraculous, ahem, comeback with another album of blistering hardcore anthems sure to ignite many a crowd when the band thakes this record on the road in the coming months. Neufeld has absolutely grown into his own as a frontman and a vocalist, and Hiebert provides some of his most savage work on the axe in an album that is truly a tour de force of punk sensibilities. The faults are minor, the anthems are massive and the overall result is an album that stands out in a genre where many acts are putting out their best works in recent months. You have to admire the gutsiness with which Comeback Kid approaches their sound and while not every track is a home run, the band certainly makes a connection more often than not.