Closer Than Kin
“The Machineries of Breath”
“I sold my soul for understanding
but all I got was apathy,
Keep on screaming to an empty sky as life keeps passing my by.
You take without giving.”
From “If Demons Could Weep”
If you ever longed for a hardcore band to inject punk sensibility and a metal edge into its sound, then Closer Than Kin is the band for you.
Hailing from southeastern Massachusetts, the five-piece hardcore band is made up of vocalist (and screamer) Nick, dueling guitarists Steve and JK, bass guitarist Rich and drummer Roger (no last names are given in the liner notes). Each musician also offers up backing vocals throughout the album.
For the past couple of years, Closer Than Kin has been building up a steady fanbase touring the United States and Canada with bands like Atreyu, Sick of It All, Death By Stereo, Pennywise, The Misfits and Agnostic Front (just to name a few).
In 2001 the band released a five song demo and sold over 15,000 copies (no small feat). The band also managed to distribute the demo internationally, hitting markets in England, Australia, Chile and the Philippines (something IÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ve personally never heard of being done before).
In June of 2003, Closer Than Kin finally released its first full-length, “The Machineries of Breath.” The group’s bio on its Web site refers to the band’s sound as a “blend of hardcore, punk, and straight up metal all meshed together in a chaotic assault of emotion and aggression.” While some of the songs are redone from the band’s initial demo, there are also a handful of new tracks offered on “Machineries….”
Kicking off with “The Euphoria of Strangulation,” the track (and the album as a whole) builds up slowly before exploding into a punk-fueled, five-plus minute diatribe against — someone (an ex-lover probably?) who did someone wrong. “Strangulation” is a perfect introduction to the band though: traded singing and screaming vocals, massive rhythm-guitar riffing and tons of varied melody. The band sways from a frenetic, bulldozing pace to a pounding, steamroller intensity at the drop of a hat.
Closer Than Kin mesh punk and metal perfectly, presenting the result in a hardcore package that slowly gets under you skin and festers there; with each listen you grow to love the album and band that much more.
The band’s lyrics drip with contempt — tales of social injustice and broken hearts, songs about misery and hate. Musically, Closer Than Kin runs the gamut from driving, punk-laced riffing, to metal-tinged drumming and guitar noodling ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ and freely mixes and matches throughout the disc throwing in acoustic guitar and melody for dressing. The band sometimes sounds similar to From Autumn to Ashes on tracks like “When Toys are Traded for Tears,” throws out a bass line similar to Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” on “3 Words 3,000 Tears” and even conjures up comparisons to the Misfits on tracks like “Dead Flowers for a Dead Lover.”
A definitely standout on “Machineries” has to be “The Uncertainty of Sanity.” The acoustic track runs a little over a minute and a half and bleeds into the next track, but really showcases some great guitar work and soulful, emotional vocals. It’s great for a band like this to stretch ever so close to its boundaries and still maintain a sound concurrent with what it hopes to present (in this case, brutal, pummeling hardcore music).
“The Machineries of Breath” has gradually become one of my favorite releases of 2003, and any fan of hardcore, metal or punk could find something to like in this release.