Old Lines: No Child Left Behind EP

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Old Lines: No Child Left Behind EP
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Old Lines: No Child Left Behind
Grindcore, Hardcore
No Sleep Records
October 14th, 2014
Release length: 22:43
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Baltimore, Maryland’s Old Lines is the product of former Pulling Teeth and Ruiner members Mitch Roemer and Jake Berry (guitars and drums respectively). After parting ways, this new group came together in 2010, which was completed with the addition of bassist Pat Martin and vocalist Matt Taylor. Shortly after finalizing its line-up, the band wasted little time in getting new material out there. Late 2012 saw the release of their debut full-length album, followed by the 2013 EP If You See Something, Say Something. For 2014 the four-piece return with their follow-up album No Child Left Behind. But does this one have the power to really stand out with it’s politically charged message, or does it simply lack the strength to back-up that agenda?

No Child Left Behind has a very blunt audio quality at work that is hard to not take notice of. While clearly digital, it sounds rough without actually succumbing to highly analog or home studio grade tactics other than insanely shrill feedback during the start of the recording. To be more precise, “To Ashes” starts with an ear splitting pitch from the guitars with some aggressive riffs that slow down about half way through the less than one minute performance. It’s not the most memorable, but the squealing kicks in again to bleed into “Cold Teeth”, as if the former were an introduction designed specifically to announce the latter, though that probably wasn’t the intent. This is where that aforementioned production and mastering comes into play, really pulling the bass guitar forward to back the clearly downtuned stringed instruments with a thick hum that sounds one notch above that of bones rattling. The longer length to this one also builds a burdening environment through the riffs, as well as a nightmarish presence that compliments the lyrical theme of the track quite well.

“Traps” carries itself like a Punk influenced cut backed by abrasive, sandpaper like shouting and random audio clips in the background. The two-step drumming and infectious chords breathe new life into the dystopian album, energizing it and the listener at the same time before heading into the hostility that is “Remote Controlled”. The ominous sensations return once again, all the while carrying a hint of angst behind the crushing guitars. “Paint Them in Gold” has more of a Grindcore foundation at work, though the song starts with a bit of a Doom Metal approach that crawls along for a good minute and twenty seconds of the three minute long track. “Kneelers” has traces of that style at work from time to time, but overall it ends up a catchy groove filled experience that, even at it’s most complex, isn’t really all that intimidating.

No Child Left Behind isn’t the most remarkable Hardcore album you’ll come across this year, but it’s easily one of the better ones. The often dismal atmosphere the bass heavy performances carry breathes a natural dystopia that perfectly suits the politically themed lyrical content, and the energetic cuts have a very influential angst that brings in a good deal of enthusiasm to the mix as well. If you haven’t yet checked out Old Lines, especially if you’re familiar with the lineage the founding members have, No Child Left Behind is a good place to start getting familiar with this band of pissed off individuals, as it’s clear this is an act that’s not going away any time soon.


01. To Ashes – 0:58
02. Cold Teeth – 2:42
03. Traps – 1:24
04. Remote Controlled – 1:01
05. The Hunt(ed) – 1:08
06. Paint Them in Gold – 3:01
07. All Locks Have Keys – 1:47
08. Kneelers – 2:16
09. The Quick Sales – 2:37
10. War is Declared – 1:55
11. Plastic Coffins – 3:54
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Old Lines

Digital review copy of this release provided by No Sleep Records
via Secret Service PR.