PLAYING ENEMY - I Was Your City
July 1, 2014, a year ago
(Corpse Flower Records)
I always loved this band: the now defunct PLAYING ENEMY (250 likes on Facebook... come on, world) featured an incredible pedigree (dudes from Seattle first-wave metalcore legends KISS IT GOODBYE, hardcore greats UNDERTOW, and others) and released some incredible tunes to boot. And damned if they weren't always a bit underrated, so here they get their due, kinda: a super limited-run reissue isn't exactly going to get their names out to the masses, but the few who get their hands on this are going to be in metalcore heaven. And I ain't talking good-cop-bad-cop stuff; I'm talking DEADGUY, I'm talking RORSCHACH, I'm talking purity in sonics through jagged riffing, non-stop drumming, and a singer who never resorts to radio-ready choruses to get feeling across. Unlike a lot of their peers, this band had a bit of a mellower edge, in that the guitar sound often had an odd, non-distorted tone and some of the songs approached a post-hardcore swagger. But if this is two parts, say, BLOOD BROTHERS it's 20 parts Kiss It Goodbye, which is 20 parts awesome. Even subtracting the two... ah, scrap the math, this rules, and I'm very glad to see it reissued because there are really no bands doing it like this right now. Check out tunes like the herky-jerky momentum thrust of 'My Life As An Echo' or emotionally draining/reinvigorating 'Jade' (also, eyeball the excellent drumming performance throughout the whole album while you're at it) and remember when metalcore was a whole other beast.