UNDER THE INFLUENCE: COMEBACK KID – WAKE THE DEAD

WORDS: LUCA CESCON

Let’s start from the end. Let’s start from “Final Goodbye” and its iconic closing 2-step, a 100% hardcore way to end of the best records of all time. We could easily confirm that there’s no “goodbye” to be said to Winnipeg’s music-changers Comeback Kid.

The band has released six releases so far and yes, we all need this band to keep playing their perfect kind of hardcore. Started as nothing more than a side project from Figure Four’s members Andrew Neufeld and Jeremy Hiebert, Comeback Kid rapidly became the most important band for the whole hardcore community. Their first record, “Turn It Around”, led the band at the court of Facedown Records back in 2003, helping singer’s Scott Wade and his friends to carry their sound in North America as well as Europe. That being said, it was just the beginning of an amazing ride.

“None of us could ever have described ourselves as a  hardcore aficionado without having listened to Wake The Dead  for entire weeks at a time.

Producer Bill Stevenson recorded the band’s second full length, “Wake The Dead”, at the Blasting Room (Ft. Collins, CO) in 2004. On February 22nd, 2005 Comeback Kid became the most representative hardcore outfit in recent history.  It is impossible to say how many lives this album has changed over the years: none of us could ever described ourselves as a  hardcore aficionado without having listened to “Wake The Dead” for entire weeks.

2005 was a transitional year for heavy music: Cursed released their dystopian record “II”, while hardcore legends Life Of Agony let their sound be pervaded by heavy metal features in their fourth record “Death For Life”. A turning point in melodic hardcore seemed to be needed, and this is why “Wake Te Dead” came out at the right moment. CBK’s second full length was released by labels Victory Records and Smallman and represented the opportunity for Andrew Neufeld to move from his band Figure Fours’ vocals duties, and previous guitar duties for Comeback Kid. Andrew himself explained that the whole fil rouge behind CBK name was linked to the idea of getting up after the fall: this positive vision of how daily struggles could be lived rapidly allowed the band to play intense music shows all over the world. Needless to say that, besides their music, lyrics’ contents have always been such a crucial aspect for CBK since “Turn It Around” came out. It might seem like a truism but yes, “Wake The Dead” really affected our lives and still does.

“The record doesn’t leave anything to chance.”

Its melodic guitars yet aggressive breakdowns and 2-steps, its sing-along choruses and pogo-friendly hardcore-punk attacks helped set a trend for the entire underground music scene. From snare’s crescendo at the beginning of seminal track “False Idols Fall” up to the gaunt intro of “Partners In Crime”, the consistent changing between melodic and downright heavy has echoed across an entire new wave of newer hardcore bands, once more shifting the genre to one with more mainstream appeal.

“Wake The Dead” doesn’t leave anything to chance with its eleven songs and, obviously, with its title- track, a real music masterpiece and main hit of the entire record. The song reached thousands of people since it was part of video games’ Burnout Revenge and Burnout Legends soundtrack. CBK’s best track is undoubtedly one of our favourite songs ever released, and it’s easy to understand why. “Wake The Dead” final chorus goes directly under listeners’ veins and inside their hearts, waking up their inner Frankenstein, a part of us all that needs to be reawakened to let us feel free. CBK’s search for a way out permeates track number two as well: “My Other Side” is about trying to break out from a world that let people down, pushing everyone of us to make choices and to fight inner and personal battles. This might be kinda emo point of view, but is there any best feeling than listening to a band that really understands how “normal” people live their lives in a society that builds walls around them? “Talk Is Cheap”, instead, brings back the old-school face of CBK’s previous full length “Turn It Around”, serving as an intro to the starting snare of the intimate and melodic above mentioned track “Partners In Crime”.

“Fifteen years since the record’s release Comeback Kid still continue to push and mould the genre’s sound.”

There’s no time to stop this record and start thinking about something else: each tracks hit us like a punch in our faces (let’s think about “Falling Apart” last guitars riffs, for instance), bringing us directly into the rawest moshpit ever existed. Insecurities are of the band’s main themes, and this is why “Losing Patience” is one of our CBK’s favourite tracks. It bring us in front of our fears, and confronts them in  way that’s only accessible through music.

Fifteen years since the record’s release Comeback Kid still continue to push and mould the genre’s sound, but without a doubt, had Wake The Dead never been released, it is arguable that the underground genre would have developed into something else entirely. There is no set final goodbye, nor are the band losing patience, but instead Wake The Dead is the bright light that keeps shining.

Comeback Kid will appear at SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL this May.

Tickets available HERE.

Matty Williamson

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Matty Williamson

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