"Prone Mortal Form" (Century Media)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Only Living Witness is a Massachusetts-based post-hardcore band that relies on the rock solid riffs of hardcore yet the inclusion of supple hooks and well-sung vocals to round out their sound. The driving music of Only Living Witness is upbeat enough to avoid pretense; just imagine a band that was willing to combine '90s hardcore sensibilities with a fearless use of melodies without being too harsh or too sweet. The strength of Only Living Witness lies in their ability to craft simple yet impressive tracks of driving hard rock.

The lyrics are intelligent and would appeal to most anyone with even the slightest interest in the content of band's lyrics. The vocals are actually sung with emotion and fluidity although the reverb-heavy nature of the vocals is a little monotonous at times. The lyrics speak of overcoming personal struggles; the hardcore style of music may not be my favorite, but I sure do appreciate the overall positive and uplifting nature of the genre's lyrics. Only Living Witness are no exception to the positive impression of hardcore.

There are a bunch of great tunes on the disc that are worth hearing over and over. The title track, "Voice Of Disrepair," "Slug," and "December" are particularly impressive. Each song manages to avoid a pure punk or hardcore style while appealing to a variety of rough music lovers. In fact, the title track and "December" are sure to find its way on many mix tapes I'll be making in the future.

The punk-influenced "VTA" as well as the hardcore trio of "Roots," "Twitching Tongues," and "Nineveh" are moderately successful in providing the disc with variety without abandoning they style of what you'd expect from the band.

The short, quiet instrumentals "Silo" and "Darkly ..." are interesting, but only serve as obstacles in the overall flow of the disc. The musical experience of the disc would be better if I didn't have to set my programmable CD player to skip these two tracks each time I listened to it.

Only Living Witness are Jonah Jenkins on vocals, Graig Silverman on guitar, Chris Crowley on bass, and Eric Stevenson on drums.

"Prone Mortal Form" was produced by Tim Oheir; the band also contributed to the production. The sound quality is unspectacular, but still decent enough to be considered above average. The vocals are buried a bit in the mix, but the lyric sheet goes a long way to helping the listener catch on quickly.

For more information try to visit the band's unofficial homepage at to learn more about the band.

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 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 14:16:13 -0400 .