The Amsterdam Red Light District – Gone For A While (2014) Review

3/5

Skulls

Artist The Amsterdam Red Light District Album Gone For a While Year Released: 26 November 2014
Label Red-Light Records Genre Punk Rock | Hardcore

When I first read the name of this band, I was kind of shocked. Not many bands would name themselves after the notorious district in Amsterdam, you know, the one famous for legal and scandalous sex. But no, we have a real life band that has taken on this challenge. The Amsterdam Red Light District are releasing their second album, Gone For A While, on November 26th, via Red-Light Records (fitting record label). This is the French band’s second album and it’s streaming over at Punk News right now.

One thing that I noticed on my first listen through of this album is a good majority of these songs start off in the exact same fashion. I’ve checked this over and over again, but they really do, almost keeping the exact same drum pattern and speed every time. The snare drum, while sounding raw and unpolished like a great punk record, seems to always follow two bass drum kicks. This happens particularly after the song gets going, which usually involves a solid guitar riff with drum fills and rolls. But hearing the same pattern over and over made me focus more on trying to find out how many songs fall victim to this rather than listen to the album (it happens on seven tracks). Maybe I’m just being picky, but I double checked for sure. Even bands like Anti-Flag (whom they draw a huge influence from) have variation to their tracks.

I really do enjoy the production and mix of this album. It sounds like a raw rendition of what their live sound would be like. The guitars feature a strong dose of chord progressions with a small lead or riff to throw in every now and then. The main melodic voice of Elio Sxone is pleasing. His control of his pitch and lack of any harsh aspects to his approach really makes the backing vocalist stand out. The harsher scream-driven voice adds depth to the tracks to keep them fresh.

The Amsterdam Red Light District bring a lot of influences into their music, but at times I feel like they are trying to sound like these bands rather than draw influence from them to form their own sound. They bring a lot of brutality and grit to this album, with a few great tracks like “Time Flies” or “These Kids That Your Parents Warned You About.” The highlights of the album are distinguished by those tracks and playing the game of what sounds similar and what doesn’t.

The Verdict:

Gone For A While is a step forward for the band regardless of the flaws. The songwriting and musicianship is there. The talent and influences are there. With a few more years under their belt, I am sure this band will write something genre defining, they just need to establish their sound first.

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