Reviews

Restraining Order, Restraining Order (New Age Records, 2018)

Let’s look beyond the present metalcore revival and turn our attention to the faster stuff for a second. There’s no shortage of bands and labels who are presenting refreshing takes on hardcore/punk’s golden years. Newer labels such as Advanced Perspective, IOU Records, and Alternatives Label, while heavyweights such as Triple-B Records, Lockin’ Out, and Revelation continue contributing to that paradigm.

One band that’s cognizant of this is Restraining Order from Western Massachusetts. Comprised of scene stalwarts from bands such as Violence to Fade, Palehorse, Depths of Reality, and more, the unit doesn’t just seek to emulate the style and vibe of hardcore/punk pioneers, it combines and expounds on it.

Forget taking the blistering slam of Jerry’s Kids and fusing it with tongue-in-cheek lyrics a la Circle Jerks; forget fusing Minor Threat’s melodic vocal delivery with the barebones ferocity of Urban Waste; Restraining Order does it all.

Restraining Order presents the strongest iteration of this fusion yet on its self-titled debut. This time, they’ve slowed things down compared to their previous efforts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve completely abandoned the chaos. Rather—the band’s vision is more realized. Opener “Upper Class Bum” is a quick, buzzing number that culminates in a slow release; “Better Luck Next Time” sees the band exploring mid-tempo punk a la Red C and Black Flag.

Vocalist Pat Cozen's delivery is reminiscent of Springa from SSD’s snotty, nasally wail, and it melds nicely above the start-and-stop of closer “Pointing at the Mirror.”

Photo: Todd Pollock

In short, on this release, Restraining Order panders to those who yearn for hardcore punk’s blistering speed and snobby tenacity. There’s a wide swath of references here, from UK82 greats to those in the American hardcore canon, and the band shines at bringing them together on this release.

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The Restraining Order 7" is available now via New Age Records. The band will also be part of the New Age Records 30th Anniversary Show on Aug. 25 in Orange County, CA.

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