Hiretsukan – End States

End States

End States may not be the greatest hardcore record you’ll ever hear, but it provides one decent quality that I really do appreciate. Hiretsukan’s second full-length goes a long way toward proving that you don’t have to make generic mosh-core with lyrics about beating someone’s head in (ala Madball or Skarhead) to be a hardcore band from New York. This record shares more in common with West Coast groups like Submission Hold, Drive Like Jehu, and even Funeral Diner to a certain extent. Although many of the online reviews that I perused before playing this record made reference to bands like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan, I can say with a great degree of certainty that Hiretsukan does not play metal.

From the first track on End States straight through to the very last one, it becomes increasingly apparent that this group has an affinity for creating melodic hooks a la Four Hundred Years with short choppy breakdowns without ever falling prey to the melodic hardcore/emo – or “screamo” if you will – of so many bands these days. I think there is just about enough of that crap to go around for years to come that we don’t even have to talk about it here. About 99% of those kinds of bands seem like they have been coming prepackaged for MTV marketability since before they were even a gleam in the public eye. I mean really, if you look back on it, those asymmetrical Backstreet Boys-style haircuts have been popular with groups like Saves the Day, Jimmy Eat World, and their ilk since the late 90s…ahhhh, but I digress.

So anyway, if you like your hardcore somewhat mathy with screamed vocals, then Hiretsukan has got a deal for you. As I stated previously, there isn’t anything here that you haven’t heard before, but End States is a solid release nonetheless. The only real complaint I have is that the vocals are a little too up front in the mix, making frontwoman Michelle Profit a little awkward sounding. Although I understand that the political lyrical content is probably important to the band, they were nice enough to provide a lyric booklet so that listeners could read along if they wanted to understand. Next time, I’d turn the guitars up a bit and kick the vocals to the mid range, and the results should be even better.