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Frailty

The Banner

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Album Review

One can only assume that New Jersey's the Banner named their third full-length Frailty in order to throw werewolf hunters off their scent, because their musical attack remains as violent as ever, and their lyrical themes just as gothic in nature. Thank God, too (or Beelzebub, as it were), since there's enough sensitive whining to be had in the post-emo landscape, making these wannabe new millennium Misfits a welcome commodity — even if their savage metallic deathcore is rarely as imaginative as their entertaining wordplay (see "Iwiwd," "Funerals," and "Ratflesh"). Nevertheless, the combined intensity they produce is likewise rarely boring, and when the group focuses all of their volume, power, and fury into generating howling maelstroms of sound into potent cuts like "The Wolf," "Leechbath," and "On Hooks," the results can be pretty damn awesome. The Banner also fare particularly well when sending rivulets of melody streaming through the dense riffs crowding album highlight "Sphrenia," or alternating drastic contrasts of dark and light on "Dusk"; then jamming all of these tricks and more into cathartic closer "The Father and the Wayward Son." Lead ghoul/vocalist Joey Southside continues to draw inspiration for his lyrics from suitably vivid reading materials, including works by modern horror master Clive Barker for "A Hellbound Heart" (better known as the basis for the Hellraiser movies), and the DC Comics series I Am Legion — one of the album's strongest tracks. But he's not devoid of humor, either, as evidenced by the album's amusing, country-twanged intro-piece, "Welcome F**kers." In sum, although they won't be rewriting the deathcore will and testament with Frailty, the Banner carry off the style as well as anyone, and will continue to do just fine so long as they retain the strong conceptual identity afforded by their horrific subject matter.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in New Jersey

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Your Murder Mixtape, the Banner's 2003 full-length for Blackout, opened with a song called "Zombie Onslaught." That should give you an idea of what the quartet's particular take on metalcore sounds like — guts and ghouls and screaming death, delivered over jagged hardcore melodies and amplified with death metal intensity. Weird breakdowns and detours suggest a junior version of the Dillinger Escape Plan. The Banner had actually debuted previously to Murder Mixtape with the Posthumous EP, also...
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Frailty, The Banner
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