Published Apr 20, 2018The four-year gap between 2014's Refuse to Beg and Born Low's latest album, Sorry for Your Loss, brands the latter outing as an imperative attempt for the band to not be written out of hardcore's history books. While hardly a half-decade, silence of that length can be deafening for a unit that once toured relentlessly with the likes of the Acacia Strain and Backtrack.
On Sorry for Your Loss, Born Low unobtrusively welcome melodic guitar seasoning on tracks like "As Before, So Beyond" and "The Motion" in a way that demonstrates wisdom. With that sagacity comes a hardened edge that emits some of their most calloused breakdowns, such as conclusive bits of first single "Negative Balance." Frontman Kyle Chard flaunts a distinct and ferocious howl, best showcased on "Numb to Feel" and "Evil Lurks." The Albany group's songwriting has always been somewhat No Warning-by-numbers — hardly a fault of their own, but a war path for Chard's definitive grunts.
The initial approach to final track "King Again" recalls the dangerous excitement that Born Low's initial material brought about, but loses itself in a misguided haze of thrash metal that fails to share a pace with Chard's notorious vocal tone. "Vagabond" is an attempt at the anthemic, which has worked for some breakout hardcore acts recently, but the straightforward production of Sorry for Your Loss mostly thrives when channelling Violation worship and less so when Born Low swings at a Power Trip-esque chorus.
Drummer Derrick Vanwie's smashing of his china cymbal in the bridge of "Steady Drain" is a cautionary tale; whether you like it or not, Born Low are back and you best not forget about them. (Independent)