"Dead Flowers For a Dying Lover" (All About Records; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Closer Than Kin is hardcore from Massachusetts that borrows liberally from the noisy grind of Today Is The Day and hardcore acts like Haste and Hell To Pay. "Dead Flowers For A Dying Lover" is a five-track demo that the band is using to shop itself to labels.

Sporting a raw and edgy sound, Closer Than Kin manage to pack quite a bit of emotional wallop into the five tunes contained on "Dead Flowers For A Dying Lover." The last track, "The Decay Of Autumn," is the most versatile of the five songs and has been one of the better tracks I've heard from an 'unsigned' band in recent memory. The title track has a fairly wide breadth. "If Demons Could Sleep" could serve as critical commentary of the crisis in the Catholic church over the behavior of its priests. The emotion-heavy "When Toys Are Traded For Tears" is a tight number that streamlines its aggression with the tradition of hardcore and the ra-ta-tat machine gun riffing of metal.

While I may not be the biggest fan of hardcore, I have a pretty good handle on what will click in the hardcore community and I think it is safe to say that Closer Than Kin can (and should) make some inroads towards recognition with this intriguing, albeit brief, demo.

"Dead Flowers For A Dying Lover" was produced by Steve Austin (Today Is The Day) and Closer Than Kin.

Closer Than Kin is Nick on vocals, J.K. on guitar and vocals, Stevie Chaos on guitar and vocals, Rich on bass, and Roger on drums.

"The Machineries of Breath" (Punkutation Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

It's nice to see that Closer Than Kin's demo, "Dead Flowers For A Dying Lover," managed to secure a recording deal with the Punktuation label. When I am listening to demos, I always try to guess whether or not a band and their sound will succeed in scoring a record deal and actually progress beyond their demo material when their label-oriented material hits the streets. Some bands succeed and many fail in this endeavor. One spin of Closer Than Kin's "The Machineries Of Breath" will leave you as a believer that the band has succeeded in progressing beyond their presentation during the demo stage.

With their latest effort, "The Machineries Of Breath," Closer Than Kin have infused their music with a more metallic sound in the vein of Swedish melodic death metal and a slight touch of pure hard rock. The final result is that they sound less like a hardcore/metalcore band than they did on their demo and more like their fellow Massachusetts natives The Year Of Our Lord.

Closer Than Kin's songs and overall approach are bolstered by strong riffs and better than average songwriting. The band has broadened their musical palette to include atmospheric keyboards, acoustic guitar, and more vocal interplay - this keeps the album from being too repetitive as the band has found ways to effectively color their songs. The band's vocalist Nick sounds a lot like Darkest Hour's John Henry - however, he gets a lot of support form his band as each member contributes backing vocals for a varied and throaty attack while incorporating a little bit of melody into their choruses. "If Demons Could Weep" is a particular highlight.

The bottom line is that "The Machineries Of Breath" is a great leap forward for Closer Than Kin. Fans of hardcore, metalcore, and underground melodic death metal will all find something to like about Closer Than Kinís progress.

"The Machineries Of Breath" was produced by Closer Than Kin and recorded by Steve Austin (Today Is The Day).

Closer Than Kin: Nick on vocals and screams, JK on guitars and backing vocals, Steve on guitars and backing vocals, Rich on bass and backing vocals, and Roger on drums and backing vocals.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:11 -0500 .