The Red Baron My First Love

The Red Baron My First Love
The Red Baron continue Florida's long tradition of harvesting hardcore bands, but it's hard to tell by glancing at their album cover. A cartoon scene depicts the five-piece (although, curiously, only four characters make the cut), having them appear more like New Found Glory than Shai Hulud. However, after the deceiving nature of the cover fades away their Southern swell of crunchy guitars and anthemic vocals takes over. Over the 12 tracks they leave room for lead singer Phil Porto to direct the songs through his Refused-style screaming. However, there are times ("My First Love," "Hardball") when he just sounds tinny and weak — bowel-shaking, tough hardcore growls are sorely missing at pivotal points throughout their debut. When they hit their mark though, they're as impressive as any veteran band in the biz. "Our Time," which ends much too quickly, enters with haunting group vocals before Porto takes on a Blindside-esque vocal style and thrashes through with more fist pump moments than an Obama rally. The intro, along with "Latest Hot Shot," featuring Dallas Taylor of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, are other soaring high points. Despite some inconsistencies, the Red Baron have definitely entered on the right path. (Blood and Ink)