Snapcase – Designs for Automation

Designs for Automation

If you pay any attention at all to hardcore music, you undoubtedly know about Snapcase. Since 1993, the Buffalo, NY quintet has been releasing not only the best music (by far) on Victory Records, but some of the most interesting and unique music on the hardcore scene in general. 1993’s Lookinglasself was good (if not standard) screaming, grinding hardcore, and 1997’s excellent Progressions Through Unlearning upped the ante with a more calculated, harrowing sound (the group also released the EP “Steps” and a brilliant split-EP with BoySetsFire). Designs For Automation continues Snapcase’s search for intelligent hardcore. If you’ve heard Snapcase before, you know what this sounds like. Vocals that are shouted, dueling, grinding guitar work, and a tight rythm section all lend themselves to heavy music that is (dare I say?) listenable. Snapcase have managed to progress their sound to an almost commercial level (and not in that Limp Korn Posse kind of way).
Designs for Automation is decidedly Snapcase’s most melodic effort yet, with screamed vocals that actually sound good. The guitars on this album are more interesting than their prior two offerings, though the overall heaviness of the record suffers from it. Songs like “Target” and “Twentieth Nervous Breakdown” are surely some of the most melodic sounds to come off of any Victory recording, while songs like “Energy Dome” and “Break the Static” hit as hard as any of Snapcase’s older work. This album is exactly what I expected: screaming, grinding, pulsing, intelligent hardcore that solidifies Snapcase as one of the best punk-metal bands on the scene. My only complaint is that in three LP’s Snapcase’s sound has remained virtually unchanged. I just find myself wishing sometimes that they would aim a little higher.