Friday, February 10, 2012

Album Review: Force Majeure


Artist:  The Shell Corporation (Official, BandCamp, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, ReverbNation, Last.fm,

The Shell Corporation plays angry melodic hardcore with vocals and lyrics reminiscent of early Against Me.  Thematically Force Majeure is chock-full of left wing lyrics that strike out against corporations, religion, the government, and society.  To say that this record is dripping with rage would be an understatement.  The record’s opening track, “Fuck ‘Em,” perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the album.    

The record’s best moment is “A Scrillion Scieces,” a catchy song that lets the hooks carry the tune instead of anger.  “Broken Hearted Loser” is another standout moment.  The song is sparse, mid-tempo, and driven by a simple guitar riff and sing-a-long vocals. 

What The Shell Corporation does really well is play extremely tight and energetic melodic hardcore.  This band is obviously very good at what they do and that fact comes through with crystal clarity on Force Majeure.  In fact, Force Majeure is a great sounding record.  The production is top notch and the performances are spot on.  My only problem with the record is that it is so in-your-face with its rage.  I understand that these guys are angry and why they are angry (I’m thoroughly ticked off about many of these same things myself) but they let that rage drive the album.  Often the problem with overtly political lyrics is that they can become dated very quickly.  The listener can also feel like he/she is being beaten over the head with the message and thus often stops listening.  Consider the bands that have done the political message in their music well (and I’m limiting this list to punk bands)—Operation Ivy, Rise Against, Bad Religion, Against Me.  What do they have in common?  A timeless quality to their lyrics and music.  Yes at times they get specific, but instead of browbeating the listener with the message, they make the message enjoyable.  A great example of a band that didn’t do this well (overall at least) was Dead Kennedys.  With the exception of their first album and a smattering of songs here and there, most of their material is completely forgettable because it is so dated.  The same can be said for the bad ‘60s protest songs.  They have all been forgotten, but who doesn’t know songs like “For What Its Worth”?  That one has survived because it speaks to something deeper in us then the anger of the moment. 

The Shell Corporation certainly has the potential to be the next Rise Against or Against Me, they are that good of a band.  And while my criticism of Force Majeure may sound nitpicky, that’s because when a band is this good, the criticism becomes specific (if a band is really terrible, then they have a lot more to work on then tightening up their themes).  If you are a fan of the likes of Rise Against and Against Me then I highly suggest checking out The Shell Corporation.  Or if you aren’t busy tonight and are in the OKC metro area, The Shell Corporation will be playing at The Blue Note with They Stay Dead, CHUD, and Two Snakes.     

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