Published Sep 30, 2015The debut full-length from Montreal metallic hardcore band Kennedy, The Guilty Poor, is stuck in purgatory between clean production, which has become the standard for the heavier acts, and the raw production style more commonly associated with grindcore or crust punk.
The shrill screeching chords so definitive to metalcore lack an appropriately booming counterpart here, which sort of sucks the wind out of the band's sails. Still, there's much to like here: the band clearly like Josh Scogin, and channel his earlier works in the Chariot and even Norma Jean throughout most of the record, but pepper it with a bit of a more rock feeling a la '68 on occasion. See, for example, opener "Stillborn Believer," on which even the lack of tunefulness in the singing generally works, adding to an unhinged nature that would be stronger if the production were either clearer or grittier, rather than somewhere in between.
The later bridge and build-up on "Brave New World," the piercing feedback closing to "American Gods" and the prettier songs ("Empty Womb," "Promise Kept" and "Iverson") all skirt any production problems, so don't give up on The Guilty Poor right away. Give it a few spins to reveal the greatness shining beneath, and then go see Kennedy live. (Hotfoot)