Ireland is not a place widely renowned for its scene, particularly the kind of metallic hardcore that Bailer play. However, Bailer captures the sound of a band raising a defiant middle finger to the obstacles that lie in the way of their group and the style of music they create.
A number of really iconic bands have been thrown around in the conversation of what Bailer best encapsulate. Groups such as Converge, Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats are all swimming around in their description and, for sure there are elements of all these groups. Personally, I would also add Manchester’s soon-to-be-defunct Hometruths, particularly in the vocal delivery.
These are all top-of-the-range bands that are used to best describe Bailer’s contribution to the flourishing UK hardcore scene, but does the new EP warrant these namedrops? In short, it would be of no dismissal to the band to say they don’t sit at that level… not yet at least. For now however, Bailer mark their third foray into recorded music, this time a five-track effort beginning with the full-throttle hardcore assault of “Lying For A Living”. This track is possibly where the sonic hallmarks of Every Time I Die are heard most, except with ETID’s rock ‘n roll mannerisms surgically removed, leaving an unyielding hunk of hardcore in its place.
This bleeds into the slower, dirtier “Tuesday Blues” which has a sort-of instrumental breakdown, coupled with a brilliant lyrical hook in “We don’t see eye to eye, we don’t even try”. One of the main strengths of this release is its refusal to resort to the over-done and over-played breakdowns that literally litter the majority of mediocre hardcore records. This album steers clear of that and benefits greatly from it.
“Long Gone” is another slap to the face, courtesy of Adam Carrol (formerly of ZOAX) joining the band on vocals. This track epitomize best how this, quite simply, is hardcore through and through. There are few other flavours present and Bailer rules because of that.
It’s the record closer “Death Is A Reminder” that perhaps is the standout track as a slower, more considered approach to the heavy-hitting sound they are portraying. It begins with a mean riff and evolves within the four minutes, showing off just how many different ideas Bailer have. From the vocal refrain of “We used to see you around, the fucking talk of the town” to the d-beat that the track kicks into mid-way through, to the hook of a chorus; “Death is a reminder, that you were never any wiser”, layered over dissonant guitar work, “Death Is A Reminder” is the pinnacle of Bailer.
Reflecting over the record, it’s obvious that there are a lot of great ideas woven in here. On a side note, I’d be chuffed to have made this, but the trouble is that Bailer has been born into a world where hardcore is producing some of the most exciting bands and ultimately, it’s at risk of suffering at the hands of the stiff competition. Adding to that, this is another of those rough, edgy albums that’s much too produced for the style of music it’s conveying. Don’t get me wrong, the bass on this in particular is absolutely fantastic, but it shares the same gripe I had on Stray From The Path’s new record. For what it is trying to do, this record would be so much more effective with being less polished.
At the end of the day though, this is another example of how great pissed-off music can be and even though it’s only five tracks (20 minutes) short, there’s plenty of great material to get stuck into here.
Bailer is out now on Distro-y Records