ALBUM REVIEW: Inclination – ‘Unaltered Perspective’

A collage of Inclination performing, colour graded in black and orange

It’s been one hell of a time for hardcore. Particularly in the USA, where societal problems have loomed ever larger, there’s usually no better outlet than getting yourself to a show and joining forces to share collective frustration with your fellow man. 

From West Coast to East, Sunami, Drain, Scowl, Mindforce, Regulate and many more are flying the flag for the genre’s up-and-coming ragers. Since Knocked Loose’s rise to stardom from the phenomenal Louisville hardcore scene, Kentucky’s Inclination has become a large part of community’s straight-edge hardcore subculture. In part due to gnarly guitarist extraordinaire Isaac Hale, but also due to the unflinching passion and intensity that has come to characterise their sound.

Drawing heavily on ‘90s metallic hardcore tropes, there’s trashy elements, parts to slam to, growls to rumble the floor. The whole package is dusted with production know-how by Andy Nelson, who had a dutiful hand in bringing the fury of Weekend Nachos and Jesus Piece to wax. The whirling dervish doesn’t quite get underway until the second track, with an acoustic opener outlining the album’s mantra and acting as a dam about to be levelled. Epidemic itself takes aim at corporate greed—a systematic failure that endures despite the country’s opioid crisis. Single Thoughts And Prayers showcases frontman Tyler Short calling out politicians and policy makers that ignore society ripped apart by institutional oversight, focused on clout and money rather than solving the suffering faced by a worrying many.

Metallic hardcore has brought such factors into the spotlight through a perfectly pitched level of anguish from lived experience, backed by the chugging breakdowns, as featured on the backend of bruising cut Bystander, and in the whippet-speed chord progressions exhibited in the verses of Without A Word, its effective drop after a short intake of the listener’s breathe coming straight out of the Nails playbook. You’d be marooned if your ship was hit by a tidal wave the calibre of the track’s punishing beatdown.

Less sprinkled, rather bursting through the front door with a battering ram, are expertly chosen guest vocalists, such as Indecision’s Tom Sheehan, One Step Closer’s Ryan Savitski and Russell Bussey of Magnitude, while Hale himself brings his mosh call monster voice at all the right times. Short’s throat-straining barks are complemented well, particularly on the variety of voices and techniques exhibited on A Decision, its denounement’s gang vocals signifying camaraderie; “a decision was made to be straight edge” equally evokes Minor Threat’s influential message, and Fugazi’s emotional delivery.

Uncompromising in its vision and execution, the aptly titled Unaltered Perspective does a whole bunch for the rise of effectively honest hardcore when the world needs it most. Offering moments of reflection on how our lives are being lived now, as well as providing the positival mental strength message that Terror also bring to the game, it’s a gut-punch for the best reasons. Blast it loud.

For fans of: Knocked Loose, Hatebreed, Earth Crisis

‘Unaltered Perspective’ by Inclination is released on 21st October on Pure Noise Records.

Words by Elliot Burr

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