|Musical Style: Metal/Thrash||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Roxx Records||Country Of Origin: Italy|
|Year Released: 2013||Artist Website: Boarders|
|Tracks: 15||Rating: 80%|
Should you prefer your metal mixed with a touch of thrash, look no further than Milano, Italy based Boarders and its January of 2013 Roxx Records sophomore release R-Existence. Similar to the groups 2007 Quam Libet debut The World Hates Me, R-Existence, initially available as a download by the band in early 2012, finds Boarders staying true to its Megadeth tribute cover band roots in no uncertain terms. Only this time the emphasis is on a heavier and more aggressive sound while still allowing for the melodic sensibilities that made The World Hates Me such a solid work.
The “heavier and more aggressive” aspect to Boarders surfaces on “Signs Of Resistance” and “Vengeance Is Yours”, a pair of mid-paced sluggers characterized by their penchant for the no-nonsense and heavy hitting. “4th Reich” maintains the angst with its up-tempo thrash based leanings, as does “Meet My Heart” in approaching speed metal territory. If into tracks off the debut such as “Deliver Us Back To Hell” and “For What It’s Worth” then I can see these four appealing to you.
In terms of those “melodic sensibilities”, “The Agony Of Lying” and “Cause Of Life” hearken back to The World Hates Me numbers “True Rebellion” and “Jump For Joy” from their catchy choruses and non-stop energy. “Pure Gold” comes across swarthy, plodding and drenched in melody, while “Lightbringer”, by far the albums most creative, combines technical fortitude and accessibility in equal doses.
The Roxx Records version comes highly recommended for featuring five bonus tracks not available with the download release. “A Warm Place”, the first of the five, is a refined, fusion guitar instrumental and the second an acoustic rendering of “Pure Gold” with guest female vocalist Mariangela Scafati. “This Time” gives rise to a semi-ballad feel in joining piano with edgy rhythm guitars. The final two are demo versions of The World Hates Me tracks “Deliver You Back To Hell” and “For What It’s Worth”. Production is fine (they do not sound like demos) with the main difference being the more assertive vocal approach of front man Egi.
Egi maintains the angst laden focus here with his trademark scratchy and razor edged style. Yes, he adds a touch of aggression to his delivery - at least in comparison to The World Hates Me - in aligning with the heavier nature of the music at hand. And it works, particularly on tough as nails tracks “Signs Of Resistance” and “Vengeance Is Yours”, albeit he smoothes things out on a more even piece such as “Pure Gold”. Either way the occasional high end scream he lets loose with reflects his versatility.
He combines with Gigi to form quite the potent guitar team, the two lending to that heavier dimension to the Boarders sound with their muscular playing. Gigi impresses with his varied soloing abilities, ranging from the melodically driven leads to “Signs Of Resistance” to a more bristling style on “Lightbringer”. Guest lead guitarists Jeff Waters (Annihilator) and Franceso Romeggini (S91) shine on “4th Reich” and “Cause Of Life”, respectively.
Production remains a strong point. Guitars come across upfront and full of bite and low end every bit as full and weighty. The occasional calmer moments finds the bass breathing in the backdrop, which is testament to the clarity to the sound here. Also of note is the quality packaging (with a detailed 8 page mini booklet), which provides for another reason to make the CD version a necessary purchase.
R-Existence adds up to another solid work from Boarders. Yes, the album flexes its muscles a bit more than The World Hates Me, and takes a few additional listens to grow on you as a result, but do not let the heavier propensity dissuade you in that there is more than adequate melody (even if on the subtle side of things) to draw you in. In the end R-Existence brings the right combination of heavier based songwriting, complementary vocals and strengths in the area of musicianship and production to prove a worthy contender in the metal and thrash genres.
Track By Track
“The Agony Of Lying” hearkens back to the debut with its melodic based proclivity. The song immediately cuts in at a near speed metal clip, tapering slightly for its heavy set versed prior to obtaining the more engaging qualities of its refuse to go away chorus. Gigi and guest Stefano Peloso provide the blistering duel lead guitar work. Lyric snippet:
For you to live is to lie
And there’s not truth until you die
Promises are filling my ears
I can see the day is coming when
You’ll be kindly swept away
Doing unto others as
They’re doing unto you
Really would you like me to
Follow your golden rules?
Straightforward and unrelenting, “Signs Of Resistance” sets a mid-paced tone in powering its distance to strapping guitars and throbbing bass lines. Impetus only decelerates for the occasional calmer passage carried by gently done guitars. Melody is the basis for Gigi’s soloing.
“Vengeance Is Yours” proves pulverizing with a heavy duty guitar emphasis and monster as all get out low end. Maintaining the mid-tempo focus, this might not be the catchiest piece but forthright and dominant all the same. Bass guitar shores up the snarling instrumental moments. Lyric snippet:
They say, “An eye is for an eye”
Until no one else can see
And we all live as if we’re blind
Deception is all around
The more I hate the more I die
Can’t do anything to stop
My soul from burning me inside
Forgiveness is the only way out
“4th Reich” picks up the tempo with its upbeat impetus. This one proves raucous in capacity with drums playing a combative role and low end the darker feel overall. Interestingly, at the halfway point things taper for a tranquil passage wrapped around a searing lead guitar run. Again, not the catchiest but certainly not lacking in boldness either.
After slowly fading in to guitar feedback, “Pure Gold” plods its length in swarthy fashion with quieter guitar elements and acoustic hints in the backdrop. An almost Gothic timbre is exuded as a result, with melody fixed in place and vocals on the correspondingly smoother side of things. Lyric snippet:
With no aim
In everything you give
Pure as only you could be
In the glory of your
Light I lose my
Mortal sense of guilt
There’s no judgment in your
Eyes I now see fears
Our only sin
“Lightbringer” bursts of creativity. The song stands out as the albums most technical, with a spirited and uplifting presence and lighter guitar emphasis (with pleasing guitar harmonies throughout) lending to some catchy riff action and engaging aspect overall. Narration from Martin Luther King, Jr. over the final half rounds out the best track here. Lyric snippet:
Wait, for the day of the Lord is at hand
I will trust you are my song
You are my strength
Whatever you said in the dark
Shall be heard in the light
Shall be finally real
Come take my hand
Here where I stand
Release my soul
Join me for evermore
Quirkily entitled “Six Out Of Five” is a song of contrasts, transitioning its two minute length between quieter passages underlined by piano and others in which a hardy rhythm guitar makes its presence felt.
Another choice track can be found in “Cause Of Life”. Offbeat sound effects that give way to storming guitars get things underway, technical underpinnings backed by creative drum fills propelling things ahead as melody proves the songs basis: Riff action is engaging while chorus has draw you in written all over it. Nice run of radiant leads to top things off.
“Meet My Heart” brings high energy non-stop, jump starting at once and sustaining the furious momentum start to finish. A speed metal proclivity comes to the forefront as a result, with Egi adding some grit and mettle to his vocal delivery and Gigi upholding the same from his churning riff action. Lyric snippet:
Waste the most part of your life
Doing stuff you couldn’t care less for
That’s what they try to impose you more
That’s why they say you’re wrong
I tell you what we do in life
It echoes in eternity
Open your ears and you will find
Something that’s worthy to believe
Closing things out is gently done three minute acoustic instrumental “To My Father”
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Prelude” (:51), “The Agony Of Lying” (5:15), “Signs Of Resistance” (4:37), “Vengeance Is Yours” (4:13), “4th Reich” (4:17), “Pure Gold” (3:41), “Lightbringer” (5:31), “Six Out Of Five” (2:18), “Cause Of Life” (5:09), “Meet My Heart” (4:30), “To My Father” (2:52), “A Warm Place” (2:26), “Pure Gold” (3:09), “This Time” (2:48), “Deliver You Back To Hell” (4:08), “For What It’s Worth” (3:00)
Egi - Lead Vocals & Guitars
Gigi - Guitars
Oscar - Bass
Roby - Drums
Mariangela Scafati - Lead Vocals
Jeff Waters - Guitars
Stefano Peloso - Guitars
Francesco Romeggini - Guitars
Gabriele Manfrin - Guitras
Giacomo Manfredi - Bass
Achille Realmonte - Piano