Reprisal is the second LP from Welsh hardcore heavyweights Continents. Their first LP, Idle Hands, received very positive reviews from critics and fans alike, with the band promising to make this release more intense than ever before.
By all accounts, their first album was a solid execution of the overdone hardcore sound, providing a decent – though somewhat forgettable – listen. Groove and heaviness dominated this record, but the band have improved tenfold with their sophomore record Reprisal. They keep the groove and heaviness whilst adding melodic and atmospheric elements for some much-needed variety on the record. There’s chaos, restraint, and everything between here – even if there is still a general feeling that this album does little to set itself apart from its multitude of peers.
Honestly, album openers ‘Drowned by Hate’ and ‘Scorn’ don’t do a massive amount for me. Drowned in Hate provides a nice bit of energy but not a lot beyond that, and Scorn has similar issues. After this though, the album really lifts off. Single Life in Misery starts off with pounding drums before bursting into the verses, with screamed/shouted vocals providing a welcome respite from the previous two songs’ death screams. The slightly-more-melodic vocals still have sufficient bite though, whilst the riffs further contribute to the aggression the band are looking to convey.
At this point, more melodic elements start seeping in to the musical content of Reprisal. Title track ‘Reprisal’ and, to a lesser extent, The Stand both have instrumentation that is much more melodic than anything else previously; the title track in particular really creates an atmosphere with the guitar work throughout and the fade out with echoing vocals towards the end.
It is preceded by pseudo-instrumental track ‘I’, in which the vocals don’t come in until the last 20 seconds of the 1 minute long track. It’s a really solid break from the barrage of chaos the album has been creating so far. Album closer ‘II’ is a completely instrumental song that adds in the crushing guitars the band are synonymous with to the more melodic sounds the band have experimented with.
‘Awakening’ is a stereotypical hardcore song that has some of the aforementioned melodic tones sprinkled on throughout, whilst also using the scream/shout vocals used earlier on the record. It is actually a very good song – like the whole album it doesn’t reinvent the wheel or anything, but it doesn’t really have to. The execution is strong which leads to an enjoyable song. Following this, ‘Love, Loathe, Loss’ brings some swagger to the proceedings, with a catchy groove that is sure to become a staple of the band’s live shows for years to come.
If you’re a fan of hardcore music, this album is definitely worth a listen. Aggression is almost everywhere on this record, and each song is executed very nicely by the band (even the two opening songs that I didn’t particularly like were tight from a musical standpoint), whilst there’s just enough variety to keep things interesting in a genre that sees the release of far too many cookie-cutter albums. The band are starting to establish themselves as one of the bright spots of the British hardcore genre; now they just need to keep crafting and refining the identity they have begun to create for themselves on Reprisal.