Monday, August 3, 2009

Rah “The Truth Will Reveal Itself” ep

Right out of the gate, in a great blaze of glory, as guitars ring out and the heavy pounding of toms and rolling thunder of bass begin, you just know that something very big is going to happen. That thing is RAH, and it’s HUGE. Things pick up, soon it’s frantic and then suddenly the song is on the verge of exploding—“AND JUST LIKE THAT IT WAS GONE!” Jesse screams, at the top of his lungs, with all the despair and hopelessness he can muster. His world is over and the record’s barely started. Fuck. What the hell have I got myself into? and we’re only 30 seconds in! Labeled Records brings us RAH’s second effort and let me tell ya, it’s a doozie. Not only is the production stellar and the design and packaging clean, sleek and gorgeous, but the songs themselves are of serious quality and complexity and still make you want to break shit and go crazy. While not being a great departure from previous material, it’s abundantly clear that they’ve evolved and matured in all the right areas, where each song shows off serious chops and at no point does it ever feel tired or less exciting than earlier. “The Truth Will Reveal Itself “is led primarily by razor-sharp guitar work of Ian Nixon with riffs so tight and precise that the sonic chainsaw of guitar cuts you to ribbons before you know you’ve been hit...and the hits just keep on coming. You’re very quickly 3 tracks deep into side A and RAH hasn’t let up for a second, never missing a beat. Considering the fact that, um, “lightning-speed” is their official main gear of operation, it’s a bit hard to keep up with them and their frenzied path of destruction. Amazingly though, it never falls apart, as you expect it to around every corner in crystal-clear production such as this, where you can hear every nuance. Rather, each song is held tightly together by the toughest backbone of rhythm sections, Ryan Walker on bass and Justin Ogilvie on drums, who remain in almost super-human control as these songs race into oblivion, yet never collapse in on themselves. The instrumentation mixes a blend of Youth Crew-era hardcore and its ultra-high-energy chord progressions (minus the gang chants), with some more modern touches of groove and riff-oriented song structure. However, RAH’s bright and energetic musicianship is contrasted greatly as vocalist Jesse Rosenthal just spits, snarls and barks his way through a mix of heartbreak, betrayal and deeply personal admissions of years of hard luck, without a glimmer of hope in sight. He even ends the record lyrically with a chorus of “Well what did you expect? This is as good as it gets. I wish the good times would last, but they won’t”. Not uncharted territory for hardcore, but what is unique is his stressed and painful delivery. Its disarmingly heartfelt and genuine hurt. So while RAH’s approach is youthful, its also very mature, delicately achieving both explosive crazy fun and also great deal skill you can really hear. Upon first listen, the record just rips, plain and simple. Put it on a second time and listen carefully, you’ll quickly realize just how fancy Justin’s drum fills are or how fast the guitars go, yet somehow remain tight and flawless. It’s highly impressive. In fact, I dare say this one of the finest 7”s I’ve ever put on my turntable. The ten minutes of pure steam-rolling hardcore is unstoppable and unrelenting to say the very least and with song after song like that, just kicking you in the teeth (slowing down only momentarily in its final minutes) you’ll be begging for more. Merciless drums, ferocious vocals, impossibly slick guitar & bass work, RAH have one hell of a record to top next time. Sure, the sound may be familiar and not completely foreign, but this Toronto foursome stands alone in their own right and “The Truth Will Reveal Itself” has such palpable life and vitality to it that it plays with great honesty and without artifice. What’s actually revealed in these eight tracks is that RAH are unmistakably the new face of contemporary hardcore punk in Canada. It is an instant classic. ( - DRH

The songs on here are:

1. The Truth
2. Keep Walking
3. Not Now, Not Ever
4. Good Intentions
5. Change
6. All I Know
7. Think Again
8. It Won’t Last

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