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Album Review

Post-hardcore is one of those musical terms that no one really understands, but no one is willing to admit that they don't understand, because seriously, how hip can you be? Here's what it means: post-hardcore means the guitars are very loud and there's some screaming, but there's also melody, and echo, maybe a touch of math rock, and — if you're in luck — some handclaps on the chorus. Also, the singer might have facial hair. Of course, all of those elements may not be present on every post-hardcore album, but they're all over the place on the latest from Norway's JR Ewing. The math rock kicks in early with the alternating four/four and six/four intro to "Change Is Nothing (Everything Is)" but then it fades to the background and keeps a low profile for most of the program, until it shows up again near the end on "I'm Sorry, You're Sorry, We're All Sorry." Throughout most of the album, though, the sonic space is mainly taken up by sharp yet atmospheric guitars which chime and sing as often as they screech, especially on the hard-but-pretty "Pitch Black Blonde." And yes, there are melodies — Maelstrom isn't exactly a hookfest, but there are plenty of choruses that you'll be able to sing along with after one or two listens, and on several tracks you'll want to. The handclaps show up on "Take a Hint." Very nice.


Formed: 1998 in Oslo, Norway

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Formed in Oslo, Norway, in 1998, JR Ewing unleashes a full attack of angular guitars and relentless riffs reminiscent of Drive Like Jehu, the Hot Snakes, At the Drive-In, and Refused. A few months after forming, JR Ewing went into X-Ray Studios and recorded six songs that resulted in the band's self-released Integritas.Consonantia.Claritas 7", which was later re-released by Lilac Sky. After touring Scandinavia and Europe, the band released two split 7"s with Break and SYC. Calling in Dead, JR Ewing's...
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Maelstrom, JR Ewing
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