EP Review: Dreams About... - Rule Them All (Flatspot Records)

(Photo credit: Jon Gusman)

If you asked me to show someone who’s never heard hardcore before what it sounds like, a band like Rule Them All would be a fitting start. Fighting against the grain of the panic-chord laden metalcore that is currently trending, the Long Island band focuses on the classic sounds that shaped hardcore into what it is today.

The band dropped their EP, Dreams About…, on Flatspot Records today, as 
their first release on the label. While echoing back to the sounds of older, punky D.C. hardcore, as well as the bands from their native Long Island, Rule Them All manage to take these sounds and turn them into something modern, fresh, and entirely their own. Their sound fights against sometimes-limiting genre labels, while still maintaining a familiar, nostalgic feel.

Vocalist Jon Gusman’s vocals are something truly unique to the current crop of hardcore bands. There is a powerful, raw, almost spoken quality to them, interlaced with sung vocals that fit well into each song’s hook, such as on the title track. This makes the messages of the lyrics easy to receive, while also turning some of them into even more motivating calls-to-action, such as the “What’s stopping you? What’s your excuse?” intro to the third track, “Look Inward.”

This is perfectly backed by the musicianship of the rest of the band. The drums set a driving foundation, accompanied by tight and intentional basslines, while giving the right amount of space to the guitars. Each song has its own melody, different from the last, which can take them from decisive, chug-heavy punk riffs into ringing and soaring along with Gusman’s authentic, emotionally-intense cries.

Perhaps one of the biggest breaths of fresh air that Rule Them All has to provide is their lyrical content. If Gusman’s honest vocals didn’t clue you in, the words he speaks definitely represent that there is a message to be taken from each track. The title track, “Dreams About…,” focuses on Gusman’s struggles with dreaming of the end of the world to cope with daily stressors. 

“Look Inward,” as mentioned above, feels like a staple on anyone’s 80’s-90’s PMA playlist. Over a choppy melody, Gusman laments on personal responsibility in negative situations, with two of my overall favorite hooks on the record. Towards the beginning, he describes situations where one could wonder if they could have done more to prevent a situation, reminding the listener that they may be subconsciously disempowering themselves -  “No one else could make you suffer” - ending the song on a repeated demand, “Give the power back to yourself.” 

“Teacher,” the second single from the EP, has a similar theme of personal responsibility, giving off the other-side-of-the-coin feeling to the previous track - the empowered being, taking control.

“Doomed to Consume” follows right after as a crescendo, focusing on the groovy, punk-tinged, bass-heavy sound that the previous three songs have established. The Alienation” follows, criticizing the dishonest and lamenting on the loneliness of authenticity, while switching perfectly between slower parts and ones that pick up the pace. This final song, while 4 minutes long, concisely wraps up Dreams About… in a close that feels like it takes parts of every previous song to close out the EP perfectly.

Overall, this is a really solid EP, and I'm excited to see where the band goes from here.

If you’re interested in checking out Rule Them All, you can listen to their EP below via Spotify:

Additionally, you can check out the band via the links below:


No comments

Post a Comment