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Derringer A Rock And Roll Tragedy

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01. Pianowire Necklace 02. File Under Wasted Youth 03. The Embers Still Burn 04. Straight Razors and Stray Bullets 05. Hearts Like Hand Grenades 06. Kingdom Come 07. Post Script 08. The Color of Sadness 09. A Doom Collective MP3 10. The Untitled End
2004 Zero Velocity Records
Our score 7

by Rob McFeters
7/11/2004

I met a girl from Lancaster, PA once and she was really weird. Since then I haven’t thought about that town, until just now that is. Derringer is the only other product from Lancaster that I’ve heard, and I’ll say this band is much more interesting than that girl I met. Derringer is a five-piece hardcore band. Sure there are lots of bands that are labeled as hardcore - I’ve heard people say that From Autumn to Ashes is a hardcore band, and I’ve heard Darkest Hour referred to as a hardcore band. Although Derringer do indeed push the boundaries of what would be considered a true hardcore band, they are hardcore nonetheless. “A Rock and Roll Tragedy” consists of ten fast-paced songs that are full of energy, sing-a-longs, and breakdowns, and for the most part, are on the melodic side. I can compare the instrumentation of these songs to bands like Stretch Arm Strong, Champion, and Count Me Out. However, a few songs have some elements from other genres thrown in the mix. Now don’t get me wrong, because Derringer isn’t trying to be some crossover band by throwing emo and metal in every song. It’s just that random parts will have a small post-hardcore feel (see “Straight Razors and Stray Bullets”), and then some parts will have a slight metal influence; injecting some blasting, double-bass drumming and speedy alternate picking. What I like about this is that these different elements aren’t overdone. They are subtle influences that are woven into the songs very tastefully. Now I’ll tackle the vocals. Douglas Grim’s vocals really caught my attention, because I’m definitely not used to hearing this style over melodic hardcore. Most of the time, I’m used to hearing a shout/yell style of vocals that are fairly intelligible, but Grim comes at the listener with a razor sharp, high-pitched scream. These vocals would fit a metal band perfectly, but I find this style to be a tad awkward with this band. I’ve listened to this CD about eight times now, and the vocals still bother me. However, even though I don’t like them very much, this vocal style is more creative that most hardcore bands, and I’ll always give someone respect for being creative. The lyrics on “A Rock and Roll Tragedy” are fairly decent as well. Typical hardcore subjects are touched upon, but again, are written more creatively, let alone pessimistically, than your standard group. The production on this album is decent enough, I suppose, but everything sounds thin and needs more low-end. I’d recommend Derringer to find someone else to do their future CD artwork, because this one is hideously cluttered, and the lyrics are kind of hard to make out. This is a shame, because, as I’ve stated, the lyrics are a step above. Bottom Line: I have to give credit where credit is due. Derringer is attempting to put some creativity into hardcore, and I’ll always respect bands that are trying to push some boundaries. If you are into fast, energetic hardcore, then you’ll probably enjoy Derringer. Just expect a few surprises. Frankly, this isn’t really my cup of tea, but I bet, if people open their minds just a bit, Derringer could gain some serious recognition.

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