Shelter – When 20 Summers Pass

When 20 Summers Pass

Shelter was probably the first hardcore band I ever really got into. Two albums back, I was enthralled with their driving guitars and shouted vocals that never were shrieking or screamed. There were serious melody incorporated into these songs too, and they were damn catchy in spots. I learned that singer Ray Cappo was incorporating his interest and beliefs in Eastern philosophies into his music, dubbing their style Krishnacore. And I liked the way that was worked into the music, with doses of chanting and odd music structures.

Shelter’s new album, the band’s sixth, is probably the band’s most accessible. But I feel like the band has taken a step back from their earlier style. Gone are the chantings, and the Eastern beliefs come across strictly in the lyrics. The music is all straight-forward hardcore-punk, leaning more heavily on the punk than I feel the band has done before. That being said, this is still done impeccably, the band showing why they should be staples of the hardcore scene.

The album kicks off with the driving guitar and shouted vocals, one of the most driving hardcore songs on the album, and I love the chorus of “I try, I try, I tryyyyyyyyyyy!” But “In the Van Again,” one of the catchiest songs that’s all about touring, is almost pop-punk, bouncy and light. “Song of Brahma” starts off as typical punk, but it breaks down into a more somber, bass-heavy break that is probably the most unique feeling of the entire album. And you can’t fault the catchy pop-punk quality of “Don’t Walk Away.” “If There’s Only Today” is probably my favorite track, just because the chorus is so damn catchy, and the song is so bass-heavy and percussion-driven, not typical punk style. “Crushing Some On You Love” is another stellar song, driving and powerful in parts, but also with some unique vocals. And the album finishes with “I Can’t Change History,” another sped-up, catchy punk song with hefty doses of melodicism.

Some of these songs sound like disturbingly standard punk songs, including “Loss Disguised as Gain,” “Public Eye,” and “Killer of My Dreams.” You know the sound: typical punk beat, three-chord rock, shouted vocals. Nothing too unique. But at least these are the exceptions of the punk-hardcore of the rest of the album.

Although When 20 Summers Pass has a bit too much typical punk and too little of the cool Eastern influences, I still think this is an excellent hardcore-punk album. These guys are all about energy, driving guitar, powerful rhythms, and never losing the grasp of catchy hooks. And the lyrics may not be inspiring but are a break from the typical heavy hardcore fare. It’s a solid effort from this band that clearly shows the members maturing.