2005 Think Fast! Records
01. Drowning In Details MP3
02. Phase Two Is About To Be Implemented
03. Anything, Anything
04. Stolen Hearts Die
05. Road Ends Here
07. Holding The Match
08. It's A Love Hate Thing
09. Die Tradition Die
10. Useless Song
11. Those Black And Blues Look So Good On You (live)
12. And I Begin The Longest Year Ever (live)
13. And If (The Lucky Ones) (live)
In the last few years, Bridge Nine Records has been churning out so many hardcore records, it's fairly easy for one or two (or a dozen) to get lost in the shuffle. Connecticut's The Distance released their first major EP "Your Closest Enemies" in early 2004 and I, like many hardcore fans and critics, didn't really pay much attention. Nearly two years later, Think Fast! Records has compiled two new tracks and a handful of split tracks, covers, demos and live recordings into CD form, showcasing the band's versatility and intensity. As with many releases of this sort, this disc isn't entirely consistent, both in songwriting and recording, but it is a fascinating look at the development and maturing process of a hardcore band.
The disc starts with its strongest material, two new tracks of thrashy hardcore with a few welcome surprises. "Drowning In Details" is a powerful take on a standard hardcore formula of fast drumming and guitars helmed by ridiculously harsh screams. I was already enjoying the song when, for a brief moment, a cleaner, melodic vocal was brought in to close out the song. Rather than forcing melody where there shouldn't be any, The Distance taps into the underlying melody of the song to take it in a new, very welcome direction. The follow-up, "Phase Two Is About To Be Implemented," seems like another likely candidate for the same treatment, but instead, the band keeps it "core" and just steps up the songwriting towards the end. The recordings are a bit rough around the edges, but it suits the music just fine.
From there, the record continues strongly with an interesting take on Dramarama's "Anything, Anything," which I barely recognized at first. This could've been a pedestrian cheese-fest, but these guys gave it the right combination of punch and emotion to make it work. Tracks 5 and 6 are taken from their more recent three-way split with Outbreak and Some Kind Of Hate on Bridge 9. Despite the incredibly thin sound of these two tracks, they both hold their own alongside the two aforementioned bands' respective brands of hate-fueled hardcore punk. After a tasteful rendition of Minor Threat's "Filler," the rest of the disc is rounded out by its weakest material, the band's original demo and a handful of live tracks from CBGB's. The demo isn't terrible, but with the growth the band shows on the first few tracks, the earliest recordings are a bit disappointing. Like most cheap live recordings, no matter how well played the last few songs are, they just don't sound nearly as good as they did on the Bridge 9 EP.
Bottom Line: While this isn't necessarily a mind-blowing release, it is a nice document of The Distance at various points in their existence, covering everything from their first demo to their latest recordings. Current fans of the band should enjoy the material collected here and curious listeners will most likely find enough quality music here to make it worth their time.