Halo of Flies/This Charming Man Records
23 April 2013
by Tomas Doyle
In the ever clogged and crowded world of hardcore, one of the hardest tricks to pull off is being distinctive enough that your crowd prick up their ears whenever a record of yours starts spinning. Such tribulations are the mother of invention and have in the last 30 years lead to hardcore being plied in formats as multifarious as one could imagine. TRC to Title Fight, Cro-Mags to Cancer Bats. The flip side of that coin though is that just because you aren’t re-inventing the wheel doesn’t mean it don’t spin just as well as it ever did. Enter Palm Beach Florida’s Centuries.
Pulling together a selection of their now out-of-print earliest EPs, Broken Hymns is a 14-track testimony to the old adage “it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Centuries ply a bleak and crushing strain of hardcore that takes cues from the likes of Cursed and Baptists, albeit with more of a focus on the swing and sway of modern hardcore and less on sheer riffage. There’s no particularly distinguishing element, but it all blasts along with a driving, percussive force and brazenly abrasive vocals, with songs like ‘III’ offering a nod to the pacey Euro D-beat of bands like Wolfbrigade. In the mix too are some nicely worked sections of gradual build that give way to fulsome breakdowns, providing fine fodder for those who like to bang their heads til their necks hurt.
In virtue of this being a collection of previously released records rather than a new album proper, the production style wavers somewhat (the tracks from the band’s split with Homestretch feeling notably muffled) which contributes to a feeling of slight disjointedness. That said everything here packs a sufficient punch that moaning too much about less-than-stellar cohesion would be to miss the point a little.
Watch some live bootleg footage of Centuries:
Centuries aren’t doing anything earth shattering but frankly they don’t need to. They plough their furrow with more than ample potency and venom to make you take note even if you might not pick them out from a crowd. Centuries are a fine example of how, in a world where everyone is looking for the next big innovation, that sometimes it pays to just do the simple things well.
Sounds Like: Cursed, Wolfbrigade
Standout Tracks: Broken Hymns, Coward (Extinction)