Review || Backtrack - "Bad To My World"

Three years after the release of "Lost In Life", Backtrack returns to action with a brand new record, "Bad To My World". The New York outfit took full advantage of their time off to filter all their anger and frustration and forge them into a soulful outcome. Comprised of just ten tracks, and with a running time of approximately twenty minutes, it doesn't leave room for misinterpretation. 

The album doesn’t even bother with an intro. “War” lives up to its title and is exactly what you’d expect the opening track of a Backtrack record to be; unapologetic and riddled with angst. The second track, “One With You”, is a pure hardcore hymn, a burst of energy, that will get your blood boiling. Up next is the short but powerful title track, which follows the eruptive path of the older material -also props for those beautiful basslines, courtesy of Danny Smith, at the 01:06 mark; the absolute moshpit killer. Similarly, “The Deep Is Calling” and “Dead At the Core” are dynamic compositions that will make you want to scream the lyrics at the top of your lungs while punching the shit out of people around you at the show; trust me on that.
Having entered the second half of the album already (?!), we are greeted with “Cold Blooded”, a personal favorite. Don’t be fooled by the intro. This track is a fully calculated headbanger; from the speedy riffs to the brisk solo to the clean-cut hardcore parts, it’s not what one would call a predictable song. “Gutted" follows a similar path while “Crooks Die Slow”, in all its trenchant glory, rightfully deserves a spot in the upcoming setlist. As we near the end, “Never-Ending Web” brings out even more the influences of the band and prepares the ground for the grand finale. “Sanity” builds the last crescendo, allowing the album to go out with a bang. At the end of “Bad To My World”, the listener will have either found their soul or lost their mind. No in-betweens.
The album flows seamlessly. Reasonably heavy and pissed-off, it feels like an adrenaline shot; from start to finish, it was clearly made to be performed on stage. The only real downside is the short duration. See, here’s where things get tricky. On one hand, 20’ aren’t enough for the listener to fully warm up to the album; on the other, more or longer songs would most likely weaken the end result by introducing fillers.
The chemistry between Backtrack's current lineup is more than obvious. The addition of Danny Smith on bass and Steve DiGenio on drums worked as a catalyst to create a solid foundation on which guitarists Ricky Singh and Chris Smith unfolded and structured their creative vision. I should also point out that the vocal approach seems indeed different, as Ricky Singh recently mentioned. Taking a break from consistent touring was quite beneficial for vocalist James Vitalo. Although he still sports the energetic vocal style he’s known for, he definitely sounds less strained on this album. Sure, his voice might have cracked on a couple of lines here and there but this doesn’t diminish in any way the overall tempestuous spirit of the album.

All in all, “Bad To my World” was absolutely worth the wait. Backtrack wrote the album they would want to listen to after a bad day or to get in the mood for a show. It’s an incendiary sonic assault that every fan of hardcore music should pay attention to.
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