Nick's Picks: Round 1Posted 05/09/2009 10:15AM by Nicholas Fritz as Nick's Picks
Welcome to the first installment of Nick’s Picks.
Every few weeks I’ll be choosing a music-related topic and picking my ten favorites within that category. Since I haven’t heard every song by every band ever, this is not a “best of” list so please keep that in mind while reading it. These articles are meant to be fun and insight discussion, so feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section, as well as any other topics you’d like to see covered in the feature.
Breakdowns will be discussed this time around. Everything from your standard breakdowns to pop punk ones, as well as just really heavy and rhythmic parts qualified for this list. The artist, album, song, and location of the breakdown within that song are all outlined for your reference. Enjoy!
10.) Boys Night Out
Album: Make Yourself Sick
Song: I Got Punched in the Nose for Sticking My Face in Other People’s Business
Start/Stop: 1:48 to 2:21
I miss the old Boys Night Out, with their psychotic lyrics about killing people placed over uplifting pop punk riffs; a hilarious combination that actually worked out well for them. While I thoroughly enjoyed their first EP, the songs were pretty rough around the edges. Make Yourself Sick helped put the band on the map, and the opening track is a great way to tie the more aggressive EP into the pop-inspired full length. The track can hold its own without the breakdown, but it helps the song stand out from the rest of album and assures the listener that the band didn’t lose their edge – at least not on this album.
Album: Process of…
Song: The Locust
Start/Stop: 1:42 to 2:20
I never really got into Turmoil for some reason before they broke up. I returned to them a few years later and it finally dawned on me how awesome they are. Process of… is one of the greatest hardcore releases to me and "The Locust" is my favorite song off that album, mainly for the great ending breakdown. The build up creates a surge of energy that follows into the breakdown and through the rest of the song. A great album, a great song, and an incredible band.
8.) Curl Up and Die
Album: Unfortunately We’re Not Robots
Song: Doctor Doom, a Man of Science, Doesn’t Believe in Jesus, Why the Fuck Do You?
Start/Stop: 2:07 to 2:37
Curl Up and Die aren’t really known for their breakdowns but when they incorporated them in their music, it was awesome. The ending of “Doctor Doom…” is a prime example of this, and the subtle use of the China cymbal as an accent note really makes this one. Also, many of the songs on this album bleed together so the breakdown helps it stand out from the rest.
7.) Comeback Kid
Album: Turn it Around
Song: All in a Year
Start/Stop: 1:15 to 1:55
Comeback Kid was the first band I got into that you could call traditional hardcore. Before that, I listened to mostly metalcore or melodic hardcore and they opened my eyes to whole different style of hardcore. Even though it’s simplistic, the breakdown in the opening track of Turn it Around is still one of my favorites, and the two-step in the middle of it is awesome as well.
6.) Blue Skies Burning
Album: Last Leg of My First Race
Song: Summerfield, Michigan
Start/Stop: 1:25 to 1:40
I love this band, and I hope other people had the chance to check them out before they broke up. Blue Skies Burning plays a mix of hardcore, punk, and rock that was really unique at the time and is still a band I return to often. The opening track on their EP gives the impression that this is just a pop punk band with raspy screams, but then a chaotic breakdown kicks and completely changes the landscape of the song.
5.) 7 Angels 7 Plagues
Album: Until the Day Breathes and the Shadows Flee (Demo EP)
Start/Stop – 2:37 to 3:01
7 Angels 7 Plagues had a short but memorable run, and they showed us that a band can have unrelenting breakdowns as well as beautiful melodic parts. The breakdown in “Dandelion” hits hard and finishes in even harder, preceded by a frenzied buildup that adds to the anticipation of it. I realize this is also on the band’s full length but I prefer the original singer’s vocals, plus it sounds slower on the demo and better in my opinion.
4.) Every Time I Die
Album: Burial Plot Bidding War
Song: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Start/Stop: 3:43 to 4:30
Who would have thought that this band would have blown up the way they did after hearing this EP? I thought it was decent but never expected them to get as big as they have. Every Time I Die are another band who don’t use breakdowns very often, at least not in the traditional sense, but the one at the end of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is my favorite from them. The rhythm of it mixed in with the great transition riff to tie the breakdown together makes this one a winner. Also, Keith Buckley’s vocals are just as important as the music, screaming “heads will roll” over it the entire time in his eerily distorted vocals.
Album: If They Move…Kill Them
Song: Whatever it Takes
Start/Stop: 2:26 to 2:57
I heard this song on a compilation CD many years ago and fell in love with it. The whole album is great but “Whatever it Takes” particularly sticks out because of the “emo” breakdown towards the end of the track. This was the first time I heard a pop punk band play a breakdown so it still sticks with me to this day.
2.) The Secret
Start/Stop: 3:20 to 3:54
The Secret’s debut, Luce, is one of my favorite albums so I was really looking forward to Disintoxication when it came out. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations but there are still some great tracks on here, especially “Inferno.” The trippy section in the middle of the song hints at anything but a breakdown, yet the band somehow manages to transition into one and when it hits, it hits hard.
1.) The Acacia Strain
Album: …and Life is Very Long
Song: Noah Will Be Your Grave
Start/Stop: 3:33 to 4:25
The Acacia Strain are known for being a heavy band, releasing album after album of brutal tunes enjoyed by many, many hardcore kids. Although I like most of their breakdowns, my favorite is off of their first album. At the time, the buildup for it was one of the best I had heard, and the breakdown itself is a great example of how to effectively use three guitar players.