Artist: A Wilhelm Scream
Genre: Melodic hardcore
Label: No Idea Records
Man, the guys in A Wilhelm Scream sure know how to keep a gal on the hook. After consistently putting out fresh music for the better part of the new millennium – five records between 2000 and 2007 – the band seemingly fell off the map following Career Suicide. Oh, sure, they would go on the occasional tour, and they even released a self-titled EP – a really good self-titled EP – on Paper+Plastick in 2009. Still, for more than six years, no full-length arrived. The band said exactly the right things to keep us all anxiously awaiting their latest record, first promising that a follow-up would be out early in 2013, then amending that when spring finally rolled around. They had perfected the art of playing hard to get.
Finally, on November 5, A Wilhelm Scream released the long-awaited Partycrasher. And, unlike the dudes who strung me along throughout college, these Massachusetts natives have come through in a big way. Partycrasher is a triumphant, commanding record, and one that’s surprisingly cohesive given its reportedly labored and drawn-out recording process.
Opening track “Boat Builders” kicks things off with the searing guitars and roaring vocals that have become this five-piece’s trademark. “The Last Laugh” follows right on its heels, and the tracks hit like a one-two punch – a really comforting one-two punch. One that knocks you on your heels while simultaneously reassuring you that this band has lost none of its venom during the last six years. “Devil Don’t Know” could be one of the best songs that the band has ever recorded, with Trevor Reilly and Mike Supina just tearing the thing to pieces on guitar. The band pumps the brakes a bit on “Sassaquin” and “Walkin’ With Michael Douglas,” but even the record’s more down-tempo offerings radiate with unbridled vigor. (And of course, with A Wilhelm Scream, down-tempo is a relative term.)
Really, this record succeeds because it’s the combined effort of five musicians who are all at the top of their game. It’s worth noting frontman Nuno Pereira, who may have cemented his place as one of the best rock vocalists of our era, as his guttural, gravelly voice is as strong and dynamic as it’s ever been. Brian Robinson’s bass parts are impossibly fast at times, and while Nicholas Pasquale Angelini’s drums take more of a backseat here than they did on previous releases, he gets a chance to display his technical prowess on closing track “Born a Wise Man.”
As on their preceding records, the band benefits from keeping each song as fast and concise as humanly possible. Most of the tracks on Partycrasher hover right around 3 ruthless minutes, every second pulsing with the ferocity and unabated energy that have always made A Wilhelm Scream’s music such a raucous good time. Really, that might be the only downside to the album: the collection of songs is so well-structured and so frenetically-paced that it blows by practically before you’ve realized what just assaulted your ears.
But to remedy that? Just listen to it over and over and over.
Review written by: Emily Cassel (Follow her on Twitter)