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Hardcore

Cowards
Hoarder EP Review + Stream

Writer: André Forte

Cowards are a bunch of fuckers who do not live up to their name. This is not a bold assessment, it’s just the plain truth: it does take some guts to throw oneself violently to the new wave of hardcore sounding exactly like one should, with all the influences exposed, and still have an identity to it; and it definitely is an act of courage to cover such a great and perfect song as Blessed Persistence, a 16 Horsepower original. The whole Hoarder extended play stands as a five-song demonstration of in your face spine breaking riffs. From start to finish, the French outfit easily change gears from heavy downtempo, feedback spilling hardcore pieces to a crushing blast beat fury, never forgetting the groovie breakdowns so typical of American punk (just take a peak into Where Lies the Anchor).

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As an opener track, Old City sets the ambient with a sole drum beat, letting the solitude get in before breaking it down with heavy riffing. The whole prowess of it lies within the rhythmic section, whose tempo varies without changing the pace of the execution in the melodic section (except for some pretty decadent seconds). That’s, actually, one of the most subtle yet obvious perks Cowards, changing the pace in each song, maintaining not only the feeling of every outburst, but it’s initial structure, keeping the listener interested in the guitars.

Execution is, definitely, not a problem for the French punks. They have their set of ammunition and they shoot it wisely, hitting melodic aspects of metal through tremolo picking and even the murkier side of hardcore music, through dissonant guitar parts and claustrophobic ambiences with so much respect paid to the likes of Neurosis and their followers (I can’t seem to notice that singer Julien H. torturing screams resemble a lot to the style of pain driven singing of Amenra’s Colin H. van Eeckhout).

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Blessed Persistence turns out to be the piece of resistance in a great set of songs, which for the time being works only as a sample of Cowards appetite for chaos. It shows good taste, it shows the guts to take on a song so close to perfection and call it something of your own. And it does sound like Cowards, like another take from Hoarder EP, with a breathtaking and spine-breaking approach to its solemn melody. Don’t be fooled, Cowards have chosen their name deliberately, and they intended to demonstrate something pretty clear once you go back and forth with Hoarder: one may have no courage at all, but even the biggest of spineless bastards is able to unleash an overwhelming fury. Most importantly, this EP works as proof of their wits around the filth. The ground is prepared to another full-length, so let’s wait for it.

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