Frail Bray is the third album to be released by hardcore band Western Addiction (surprising considering that they first formed in 2002), and one that fans have been urgently waiting for. Now the wait is over, but was it worth it?
By Jane Howkins
Western Addiction are a hardcore punk band from California, the area that originally birthed the genre. When we say they’re a hardcore band we mean in the punk style, not the metalcore style that seems to have taken over the genre in recent years. It’s absolutely fantastic to hear a band performing under the hardcore banner that actually do have their music entrenched in that style, so kudos to Western Addiction for that!
The band are probably one of the heaviest artists on the roster of Fat Wreck Chords, and Frail Bray is full of killer riffs and screaming vocals.
Their music is somewhat melodic and there are definitive hooks to be found here, although we doubt they’ll be bothering the mainstream charts anytime soon! It’s something that we really appreciate, as a lot of hardcore bands tend to lean away from the melodic side of things, focusing only on producing music that is as heavy as can be. Wildflowers of Italy provides a different sound to the band entirely – the song has a very 80s metal sound to it, being perhaps the catchiest thing on the entire album.
Western Addiction do produce heavy music, and the vocals might be too raw for some, but their riffs are full of interesting nuances, and there is a lot more going on here thanit sounds at first listen. The boundaries of punk and metal collide together here, showing a band with a vast breadth of influences. Of particular interest were Rose’s Hammer 1 and Rose’s Hammer 2, two tracks that follow on from each other in both track listing and theme.
Frail Bray is a great hardcore punk album, and one that fans of the genre should love. It’s great to hear a band recording this style of music still, especially considering how underground the general punk scene has gone in recent years. If any of that even sounds remotely interesting, then you really ought to check Western Addiction out!