Review: This Routine Is Hell – Howl

This Routine Is HellAt one point in their careers, many bands release a record that changes their rankings. Call it maturity or whatever you want, but it’s easy to recognize an album that will last. When This Routine Is Hell announced their trip to the USA last summer to record their new album with the omnipresent Kurt Ballou (Converge), it could only have led to a positive result. Before the official release of the rather diverse new material, the band released ‘Nostalgia’ and ‘Asleep’; two singles in the form of cassette tapes. After a few listenings of both singles, we could only assume that TRIH left us with the promise of a high-level record.

A few months later, the band presents Howl, their second full length album after the two very good releases (The Verve Crusade in 2010, Repent.Repeat EP in 2012). ‘Gather Your Stones’ is the first track: 40 seconds filled with explosive drums and a crushing guitar riff. The track is short, aggressive, and quickly introduces the single Nostalgia. It’s the kind of Hardcore Punk bomb that stays in your head for a while. With a memorable chorus and a furious rhythm, Nostalgia is, without a doubt, one of the finest pieces of the record and probably the best track the band has ever composed.

Howl is almost designed as a single piece. Songs are brief (‘Howl’, ‘Cancer’, ‘Gloom’) and damn effective. It all comes perfectly together and hits like a relentless bulldozer. It feels a bit similar as what Touché Amoré has accomplished with Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me; these tunes have their own identity but are part of a very coherent and enjoyable work. For this reason precisely, the production sounds very American (‘Shiver’, ‘I Wake To See The World Wild’, ‘Do not Let Them’). Think of the best Trash Talk, Ceremony or Blacklisted, and add the Dutch wild touch by TRIH.

At this point, we can only proclaim that Howl is a true success. The guitar arrangements are just perfect (Kurt Ballou, producer of the year?), The bass is fucking groovy and drum parts are very various, thus avoiding conventional constructions on Hardcore albums. The band did not hesitate to  experimentat and delivered harsh and heterogeneous songs (‘Wrongdoer’, ‘Asleep’). From filthy, hard-hitting Punk to 90’s influenced Hardcore, TRIH attempts lots of new sonorities and we can only be pleased with such stunning music. The length of the album appears to me as the only hitch. 12 tracks in 21 minutes is definitely too short when you come to hear so many qualities and potential in the same album. However, TRIH avoids the trap of stuffing their album by providing a short, unique and skilful record.

Howl is an album that features the best of the European hardcore sound with a certain will of going forward. When the band was about to give up, they decided they still had something good to achieve and they we’re right. Howl extends our satisfaction through multiple listenings. It’s one of those records that can catapult TRIH in another dimension. Get interested in their future plans, as they are growing fast and enormous.

Go check their Bandcamp and pre-order their new album on Cobra Records, Shield Recordings or Ruins Records now! It’s gonna be out on the 10th of April and it comes with a special limited screen printed cover. Sweet!

Track list – Howl

1. Gather Your Stones
2. Nostalgia
3. Howl
4. Shiver
5. –
6. Wrongdoer
7. Cancer
8. I Wake To See The World Go Wild
9. Gloom
10. Don’t Let Them
11. Uncommon Ground
12. Asleep

This Routine Is HellWeb / Facebook / Bandcamp / Tumblr / Pre-order Howl
Written by Alex Tabankia

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