By: Jeremiah Nelson
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Released on June 30, 2015 via Good Fight Music
Old Wounds‘ 2013 release From Where We Came Is Where We’ll Rest was an enjoyable record. The four-piece band plays an upbeat, modern style of hardcore with the gain turned all the way up. Their first album absolutely shredded. It was pissed and didn’t care who knew it. The band has released a handful of splits since their first record, and now they’re back with their second full-length album The Suffering Spirit.
The new album starts strong. ‘Rest in Piss’ kicks you right in the teeth with some thick riffs and pummeling drums. ‘Never Sleep Again’ continues in the same vein. Through the first two tracks this sounds like a solid follow up to Old Wounds’ debut. The next song ‘Actual Nothing’ is where things start to fall apart. It opens with a non-descript nu-metal riff. Then vocalist Kevin Iavaroni starts singing and the song derails. The middle of the album is pretty weak sauce. ‘Vampyr’ and ‘Moral Hex’ hit hard and heavy, but ‘Son of No One’ and ‘On Leather Wings’ have more of the clean, singing vocals that I can’t get behind. For the rest of the album we get a mixed bag of decent riffs, lackluster ones, and an overall sense that the band hasn’t grown or grown up since releasing their debut two years ago.
Old Wounds wears their beliefs on their sleeves. ‘Heaven is a Memory’ is an anti-Christian manifesto, screaming “It’s time to face the facts. There’s no one coming back”. The very next track ‘Son of No One’ sounds as if it was written by a fifteen year old boy, making sure we know that “I’ll never be like you”. Towards the end of the album we find ‘Where Flowers Grow’, which preaches at us about animal cruelty. “The animals will have their say. Their cries won’t be silenced anymore” and “A murder is a murder”, Iavaroni hollers. There’s no subtlety or mature content being addressed here. The lyrics take a stand against religion, animal cruelty, and people who “don’t get it”. They don’t do it in a way that compels you to listen; instead they’re just spat in your face. The seething angst causes awful flashbacks of bygone high school days.
‘Desecrate’ ends the album, thankfully. The Suffering Spirit has its bright spots, but it’s mostly boring New Jersey hardcore with overly preachy lyrics. The album isn’t a huge departure from the band’s previous material, but it’s a step in the wrong direction.