Album Review: The Departed – Steal The Crown

The UK’s hardcore scene (often abbreviated to UKHC) is undoubtedly nestled in the lofty heights of ‘hype’ at the minute, and has been for some time, with both UK and overseas bands finding success on these shores with good reason. Artists ranging from the beatdown laden riff churners Desolated to the more chaotic Code Orange Kids and Full of Hell have each found success over here with room for many more in this well established but ever-expanding scene.

Hailing from the north east of the UK, The Departed fit quite nicely into this widening niche and are continuing their upwards ascent with new album ‘Steal The Crown’. Fans of the band will know exactly what they’re getting here – the standard power-chord and palm-muting riffs, transition between clambering slow and frantic fast tempos, consistently executed shouts and the occasional melodic chorus for good measure. This all makes for a competent hardcore album but unfortunately it doesn’t push the boat out very far and falls flat due to its lack of innovation.

In terms of general sound, the album ticks almost all of the boxes: full and thick distorted guitars, pounding and relentless drumming and a consistently visceral vocal performance, though less audible bass than there could be. The production helps with this by sounding crisp and allowing everything audible to shine when needed, which is most often the vocals or the drums since the guitar competent but has little in the way of standout performances.

However, while the instrumentals and production are up to par, elsewhere the album fares worse. The introduction features an extended sound sample of one of Richard Dawkins’ more famous soundbites, with him discussing perceived true faith in relation to location and time period – while hardcore has a history of anti-establishment and anti-religion lyrics and messages, this sample just comes across as overly simplistic and lazy in its choice (as well as the content of the sample itself being quite arrogant and condescending towards spirituality). The lyrics are also fairly trite, with overused lines such as “We’re never giving up, we’re never backing down” on ‘Overcome’ or “We never run and we never hide” on ‘All for Nothing’ failing to making a strongly positive impression and coming across as a little half-baked.

As a bottom line, if you like fast and heavy music filled with enraged vocals and power chords then you are likely to enjoy this album – it is by no means a game changer or likely to alter any opinions but for those who are already versed in hardcore and have 25 minutes that need filling, there are worse things to put through your ears (as well as a lot better). 


‘Steal The Crown’ by The Departed is out now on Acuity Music.

The Departed links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Ben Kosma (@BenKosma)


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