So, I like to think of myself as relatively knowledgable about modern punk rock. Typically if something was brought out in the last twenty or so years, I’d have an idea about it, and would be able to sing along with a lyric or two.
However, before 2016, I’d never heard of Belvedere, which is a pretty significant failing. So, after having a long, hard look at myself, pulling my socks up and so on, I hit the play button on The Revenge Of The Fifth, the fifth full-length from the legendary skate-punk band.
While doing so, I did a quick bit of research on the band. The Canadian quartet took essentially two years to write this record, and it’s their fifth one. Considering they were never meant to play a live show when conceived, that’s quite some progress. They broke up in late 2005 (ten years after their birth), then reformed in 2012 and have come up with this record in that time.
And you know what? It’s an absolute, straight-up, five-star banger of a record. There are no bones about it. It’s absolutely fucking amazing.
The Revenge Of The Fifth provides a welcome blast from the technical skate-punk past. It’s not an innovative or revolutionary record in that they’re not reinventing a style. But because this is a genre which hasn’t been done as well as this for so long, it’s an astonishingly fresh record and one which I haven’t been able to stop playing for a few days now.
One of the potentially surprising things about the album is that many of the choruses are hugely melodic. When you think of technical, breakneck-speed skate-punk, your first thought isn’t necessarily that of melody. Belvedere, however, have liberally added dashings of it, providing a real contrast to the aggression and passion the speed brings.
As earlier stated, too, this is certainly technical music. The quartet’s style is both at a breakneck speed and filled with chops and changes. Again, this contrasts nicely with the melody within the choruses.
So, highlights. It’s tough to pick just one: all the tracks here have their own intricacies and respective brilliance. None are boring or the same. I’m a huge fan of Shipwreck, with it’s awesome riffing behind frantic drums. It’s a fairly generic skate-punk/hardcore track, but it’s done so fucking well that you can’t help but nod and bounce along. Being the first track on the record, too, it’s the first opportunity to sample that sumptuous melody within the chorus.
Probably my favourite song here, though, is Delicastressin. That’s not because of its frankly brilliant title, but because of the fast-slow-fast-middle-fast-slow nature of the track. It’s such a challenging and choppy listen, with very little consistent flow, but it is just so damn rewarding. Vocally, it’s got a harder-edged grittiness compared with the melodic style; and lyrically, there’s some awesome stuff here, too.
Hairline is another awesome track, too; The Architect is so breakneck that I can’t feel mine anymore, and Red Pawn’s Race is a bit of soother, slightly more mellow and with added groove. As stated, there’s not a bad track here, and not one to pick out as filler.
This is an absolutely stonking record, and one which blew me away from the opening riff. It’ll be out at the start of May, and I thoroughly recommend getting your hands on a copy. You won’t regret it.