The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Snapcase – Progression Through Unlearning
Despite being heavily into the many genres of metal nowadays, I still have a place in my heart for hardcore. Hell, as of last year I’ve found myself coming back to that style of music, especially more so with the new releases from both The Chariot and NAILS, I remembered just how amazing that music is. All the intensity and raw nature that resonated from the music and the scene was something I always admired, and this lead to me thinking about the bands that introduced me to hardcore in the first place. There was Strife, Earth Crisis, Integrity, Sick Of It All, Vision of Disorder and one of my personal favorites, Snapcase…
All it took was their first album, Lookinglasself, to make me a fan and with each new release from there on, it was evident it would become lifelong. With the release of their 1997 album, Progression Through Unlearning, which is considered to be revolutionary by many fans of hardcore, we saw Snapcase taking a step forward in their musical career. Around this time, we began to see other formations of hardcore, such as metalcore, which saw bands utilizing more of a “metallic” sound to their music, and mathcore, with bands like Deadguy and Botch writing the odd metered songs and crazy rhythms. As for Snapcase, they wrote an album that was both complex and accessible, never relying too much on one aspect, but it’s clear to see that the bands emphasis on heavier riffs were much more abundant this time around.
Progression Through Unlearning is an aggressive album, which is quite evident throughout all ten tracks. The driving force of the album are the guitars, bringing a slew of drop tuned power chord riffs, the occasional quirks and intricate rhythms, plus the harmonic interplay between both guitarist and the rhythm section are spot on, further displaying the tight musicianship of the band. Most of the tracks are under four minutes, so you know there’s very little room for filler material and more focus on delivering the one-two punch, and Snapcase does this in strides.
Each track pretty much follows the same formula, offering up harsh, dirty sounding harmonics, galloping drums, well executed breakdowns and aggressive vocals. With that being said, some may find that to be a bit monotonous, but what might help the listener get over that minor flaw is the amazing production of Progression Through Unlearning, it pretty much delivers that extra punch to the gut. None of the instruments ever come off sounding muddy or weak, they sound incredibly crisp and clearly audible, with the bass drum and guitars having a great amount of force behind them, giving the album much more of a powerful feel. The production can be seen as the albums saving grace and reason enough to bring you back for repeat listens.
I never once found myself getting bored with this album, I happen to enjoy each and every song, but there are a few standouts, such as, “Caboose”, “Zombie Prescription”, “She Suffocates” and the longest track on the album, “Breaking and Reaching”. The latter being the black sheep of the album, with a heavier, more mid tempo groove and the overall tone being a bit darker. Kind of makes me wish a few other songs followed suit, but overall, Progression Through Unlearning does a lot to keep the listener interested throughout, so I’m not complaining. It’s one of those must own albums, especially if you’re into hardcore and it’s exceptional blending of complexity and aggression is something to behold.
Snapcase – “Zombie Prescription”