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The Amsterdam Red Light District - Gone For A While (Album Review)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Punk never died and it's not sleeping. Whether Rancid, Misfits or Gallows are your tipple of choice, music's snottiest genre has been in fine shape for just about 40 years. But, it's a style that has been plundered many a time, so can it still offer anything fresh?

The Amsterdam Red Light District are here to offer their answer to the question. Their second full-length, 'Gone For A While', melds punk 'n' roll swagger with the post-hardcore trappings of Refused or Funeral For A Friend. And, you know what? It’s pretty good.

Time Flies kicks the record off in rollicking fashion, chucking out a filthy little riff that wouldn't go amiss on a Cancer Bats track. Vocalist Elio Sxone screams the rest of the band in and we're treated to a properly nasty, balls-to-the-wall number.

Sxone's harsh roars are potent enough to strip skin from the skull, yet his clean vocals during the chorus are an absolute keeper. This balancing act is used by many bands in a manner that only manages to come off as contrived and disingenuous, yet Sxone's strained screams and melodies feel all too real.

Elsewhere, harmonica flourishes and tinges of middle eastern instrumentation are used to elicit ultimate levels of winning from Just Have A Good Time, while the title track's monolithic chorus needs to be played on the radio. The heavyweight Set The World On Fire, meanwhile, boasts an arsenal of unashamedly hard rock guitar licks throughout its second half.

The one downside of 'Gone For A While' is that it doesn't take its experimental quirks far enough. As of now, the Amsterdam Red Light District are a more challenging, emotionally stable 'I Brought You My Bullets...'-era My Chemical Romance. This is by no means a bad thing, but with bands like Wilson already exercising their right to warp punk at will, they could do with pushing their eccentricities a wee bit further.

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