Dusted off for Reference by Trevor Anderson
The Riot Before is one of those bands that found its way to my headphones by means of one good friend talking about bands they’d recently heard and only considered to be ‘ok’. After getting a good listen to 2010’s ‘Rebellion,’ it was easy to see that said friend’s tastes were not giving on as much as they ought to. Brett, Cory, Adam and John have an ability to work together well enough to establish a definitive sound that critics can’t really discard with the usual, “this sounds like so and so” comparative write-ups. Whether you’ve worked your way through The Riot Before’s discography from start to finish or the reverse, its easy to see why they were able to tour so vigorously (over 500 shows in a short time span). Sadly, The Riot Before broke up a few days following their Fest 10 performance. They did however find the time to release a compilation CD of earlier recordings from their albums ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades,’ ‘So Long The Lighthouse,’ a split with Broadway Calls and some other miscellaneous songs (pretty much a B-Sides album) before going their separate ways in 2011.
All the usual fire-driven sentimentality in lyrical ad musical expression you can expect from a song that came from the depths by The Riot Before comes out in their 2005-2007 collective album. The most recognizable difference between these songs and those found on their 2008 and 2010 releases is the recording quality, which, especially to punk listeners, leads to a more relatable, enjoyable and raw Riot Before experience. ‘We Are WIld Stallions’ and ‘Threat Level Midnight’ are the only songs on this collection that you can find on their later recordings, and provide a great chance at a recording quality comparison between where they were and where they went. On top of that, when taken against later recordings, some songs have moments where undeveloped lyrical and rhythmic schemes don’t mesh so well. Nothing particularly stands out as shame worthy though, early recordings are where progression finds a way to take root.
Politics, economics, nostalgia and wayside-romantics are still the dominating themes of the songs on this collective album, because those are the things that mattered the most to Brett Adams at the time he was writing way back in something like 2003. The lyrical thematics blend well with the longing-turned-upbeat rhythms. The musical tones work together with sometimes pessimistic and critical words to mold out a hopeful hybrid result.
While its sad to see this band continue their pursuits on individual paths, its great to be able to say they were around while they were. Those lucky enough to play with or see them can honestly consider them lucky. Bands often make the mistake of releasing B-side and compilation CD’s while still in their prime, which often ushers some of the more condemnatory fans to find fault and pass it off as “selling-out,” “milking it” or whatever else they call it. These rare recordings deserve to be out there in the headphones of new and old listeners. The original pressings deserve much better placement in a collection, but at least ‘2005-2007’ gives everyone a chance to get their hands on something other than the two more recent records.
The Riot Before 2005-2007 is available on Say10 Records and Interpunk with several variations of color and format. There was also a Kickstarter only white double lp for those that contributed to getting this done.
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Follow: @TheRiotBefore @Say10