Live Without is a 4-piece hardcore band with a straightforward, put-up-or-shut-up attitude. The band has opened for the likes of hardcore heavyweights Twitching Tongues and Turnstile, as well as metalcore/hardcore fusion outlet Vanna on their Home Is Where I Roam tour in their hometown of Houston, Texas. While the band strives to slowly gain popularity amongst their hometown, they do so with a tenacious blend of hardcore that will make you want to sock a baby in the face while sucking down a bowl of nails. The snappy bass lines and muddy guitar tones mixed with raw vocals and never-ending drum fills create an atmosphere of absolute destruction in the mind of the listener, where they must give in to the rhythm and get ready to get down in a pit of hardcore fire.
The group breaks major ground on the first half of the album, producing fast-paced, melodic hardcore that is downright ruthless and emotional. Eerie feedback and ghost-like vocals haunt the listener into delving deeper and deeper into the album. On this record, lyrical expressions of personal struggle, disgust with society, searching for identity, and coping with our seemingly fruitless Earth give this record a very deep and defining layer of brevity. This conciseness is refreshing and heartwarming, even if the lyrics seem so negative. They give the listener hope and let you experience an emotional rollercoaster with the band, bringing forward a connection unseen by most contemporary hardcore acts, which seem to have lost their emotional tie to the music that they are creating.
The second half of this LP is just as refreshing, even if it does seem monotonous. The tone of each song does not change much, but the addition of melodic guitar elements and a more forefront showing of the drummer’s abilities really catapult this section of the album. The track “Inferior Design” displays the band’s ability to create interesting two-steps and harmonic breakdowns, while the track “Everything Leaves//Nothing Stays” exhibits ferocious bell rides, slow-tempo breakdowns and the band’s biting, emotional vocal styling. The latter track also ends with a quote by Carl Sagan talking about the Earth and how even though civilization seems so filled with corruption and hate, everyone we’ve ever loved has lived and died on this planet-an ode to the paradox of life and the lyrical content already expressed on the album.
The band recorded “Liars Reign” in the summer of 2013 with Luke Garrigus at Black Room Studios and has made it available on their bandcamp for name your price download. I commend the effort laid down on this LP. The first few times I listened to this release, I thought it was just another generic hardcore album. Then I realized how impressive the lyrical and melodic elements of this album are. The band may not be full of incredibly versatile musicians, but what the band seems to lack in arrangement they make up for ten-fold with their sheer emotion, melodic incorporations on guitar, and impressive technicality. “Liars Reign” is a very solid hardcore release in a time where hardcore seems to be slowly dying amongst the consciousness of contemporary metal listeners. Bravo boys.
For fans of: Incendiary, Backtrack, Rotting Out, Cruel Hand, Trapped Under Ice, Turnstile