The Red Scare – Strangers Die Everyday

The Red Scare
Strangers Die Everyday

The first time I saw The Red Scare live, I thought they were the best instrumental hardcore band, which was, in itself, an interesting concept. It seemed the mic wasn’t working, and although the lead singer was screaming away, the music was too loud to allow his voice to be heard. But I didn’t mind, because, unlike most hardcore bands, the music was damn near perfect. So many bands play fast and furious, turning the sound into an incoherent mess. Yet The Red Scare blend guitar, bass, and drums perfectly, with textured and intensely powerful rhythms.

On Strangers Die Everyday, the band’s latest full-length, it’s as if the band realized how unique their own musical talents are. These songs stress music first, well more important than the mostly incoherent screaming that, instead of being mixed above the music, actually blends with the instrumentation. Many of these songs have instrumental lead-ins or finales, and the last track, “Five Months in Poland,” is actually an almost 7-minute instrumental. Very few hardcore bands can pull off a full instrumental.

The band has always been adept at driving, powerful rhythms and complex drum and bass combinations. That’s evident on the lead-in, “Risking Your Life with a Capital R,” which has powerful, crashing drums and driving, thick guitars and bass above a kind of frantic screaming. It ends with a kind of electronic noise and soft squeal that leads into the most traditional hardcore track on the disc, the powerful and angry “Smoky Mountain High.” This kind of brutal power is carried over onto other tracks, like the all-out “Cranial Masses” and the crashing impact of “Kodaliths.” “Asphyxial Eclipse” starts a downward spiral into all-out madness that’s picked up on “Iron Curtain,” an intense car-crash of a song with frantic, powerful rhythms still kept in track by tight guitarwork.

Yet the band does show that it’s not all about devastating rhythms and crashing percussion. The title track is an intense instrumental, full of driving guitar and thick, powerful bass lines yet with a subtle groove as well that the band does so well. And the aforementioned “Five Months in Poland” is ominous and intense in a thick yet precise way. The odd time signatures that the band works into their songs make this quieter work even more haunting in its intensity.

The Red Scare has always been adept at playing a kind of powerful and intense hardcore that isn’t all-out, crazy stuff but is focused on a thick, powerful combination of crashing drums and powerful guitar and bass lines. It’s the music that forms the basis of this band’s best work, instead of just all-out energy and screams as so many other bands do. This band is so tight and so precise, they are clearly holding the mantle as one of the best current hardcore projects.