Album Spotlight: The Weight We Carry - "The Weight We carry, Vol.2"

>>The Weight We Carry, are back with a new EP that challenges the corrupt political system in America while simultaneously unleashing their best music yet.

Rochester, New York hardcore veterans, The Weight We Carry, have been playing shows locally since 2011 and have gone through multiple variations since their inception. They have maintained an undeniable level of integrity with a group of core original members and relentless music that never slows down in energy or aggression. In 2019 they released “Vol. 1” which denoted their first release with the lineup of Paul Cerquone on vocals, Nate Derby (Such Gold, Holy War) and Ralph Case on guitar, Casy Diaz on bass, and Dean Milak on drums. The next installment, “Vol. 2”, which was released on Monday, finds the band delivering six new hard-hitting tracks recorded locally at HQ Audio and released through hometown DIY label Sore Ear Collective. The band strut their grizzled presence in the scene with an unfiltered and raw take on American sociopolitical issues backed with straight-forward hardcore music that leaves you wanting to punch a smug 1-percenter or corrupt politician directly in the face. “Vol. 2” is unquestionably their best release thus far and finds the band sounding more relevant than ever.

“Vol. 2” starts with an eerie alarm which eventually builds into a slow riff that serves as a perfect introduction into the EP. Feelings of hostility and tension are immediately shoved into the listeners ears as the band shifts into a stomping groove discussing the hypocrisy of the term “freedom”. Cerquone grunts “I’m free, to do what they tell me” which calls into question the irony of a term that is beloved and paraded, yet sounds unrealistic to so many who feel their life options are minimal at best. The band then descends into a faster tempo with “Bite Back” which we premiered and reviewed earlier this year that features a first person perspective of the lower and working class of America that is constantly abused and manipulated by the powers that be. Cerquone sounds vicious when he firmly yells “You see a dog can only take so much, before it bites back” and the band follows suit with a punishing breakdown that calls for mic grabs and violent moshing. The third track of the EP, “Meantime”, opens with a solid bass groove and screeching feedback that evolves into a head-banging pace which finds Cerquone hollowing how it’s “me against the world”. The song follows familiar hardcore tropes, but finds the band gliding firmly into a well-developed sound that shows off their experience and precision in executing the genre with taste. The production done by HQ Audio captures the power of the band and makes them sound the best they have so far on recordings. The fourth track, “Desolation”, which is my personal favorite, features one of the toughest breakdowns of the year and makes me ardently miss the chaotic energy of live hardcore music. Cerquone relentlessly displays sheer anger and sounds venomous when he spits out “I’m so sick of this. I spent so much time in the gutter, I’m fucking used to it”. The passion is real enough in the track that it feels like someone is yelling directly into your face. The finale of the album, “American Dream”, serves as a well-rounded finisher to the fast-paced 11-minute EP.

It begins with a sample questioning what money doesn’t have blood on it and erupts into a 2-stepping rhythm calling for an end to the illusion of upward mobility that is cemented into American cultural identity. When the wealthiest nation in the world spends more money on the military/police than any program of social uplift the anger in this track feels justified; especially for younger people handed a lifestyle where mountainous debt is overwhelmingly normal. The track denounces the accuracy of the American Dream flat out calling it “a fucking lie” and suggests death is our only escape from the clutches of injustice and unfair economics running rampant. The sheer desperation and aggression of the final track resonates with the feelings of indignation pouring out onto nearly every city street the past two months which have called out blatant and historically reoccurring abuses of power.

Sadly, the band was planning a special release for the EP and some of their first tour dates ever, but the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to those pursuits. Fortunately, the band decided to release it anyway and hold us over until we can finally get back to live music. With an undeniable onslaught of punishing heavy music and politically conscious lyrics about our current predicament it’s undeniable The Weight We Carry are on top of their game and not going anywhere.