"Vital" (1382160 Records DK2; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Vital," by Second Wind, grabs you from the opening riffs of "Mettle," the EP's first track. It's a crushing tune with music that drives into you like a pile driver and, once its hooks are into you, you're in for the ride.

There are only five tracks here and, with a total running time of just over twenty minutes, you'll still be surprised how fast "Vital" goes by. Like "Mettle," every consecutive track grabs you and hold you from the first note to the last. It's like the music instantly gets into your blood. The guitars are thick, fast and heavy and the excellent production quality here adds complexities that make every track seem bigger. The rhythm section is compact and tight, delineating the various tempos that occur through each song. The band's lyrics are vibrant and defiant and are delivered with seething style by vocalist Dane Pope.

My favorite tracks are the aforementioned "Mettle" (which has stuck in my head since the first time I listened to it) and "Freedom" with its riveting background use of clean vocals. "Gratitude," also for its fast, rolling melody. That being said, there's not a track here I don't like.

I've always been a fan of hardcore but some of it, for lack of a better word, is just a little too ugly for me. That's not the case with "Vital."  Second Wind uses a more melodic edge to draw you into their world and it works like magic. Their Facebook page states that their music is "Melodic hardcore for the willing listener." After hearing "Vital," I am more than willing and I think you will be, too.

Second Wind: Dane Pope - Vocals; Brad Johnson - Drums.

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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 2020 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.