Reign Supreme - Testing the Limits of Infinite
Record Label: Deathwish Inc.
Release Date: June 23, 2009
Reign Supreme is a temptress on Testing the Limits of Infinite. They ambush immediately in "Mother Superior" with a flood of brutality, savagery and every other adjective ever used to describe hardcore, but it's a conflicting deluge because their songwriting philosophy is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." In a genre that's nearly 30 years old, that's not the best mentality to be running with. And yet, the Pennsylvanians are at their most seductive when they blare, "They can't take it away / (love) the only thing that makes this life worth living / We'll always carry each other / We'll carry on" and similar soul-stirring call-to-arms. Can you look beyond the poker-faced breakdowns? Can you allow yourself to move past the lack of creativity? Can you lay down your pride long enough to focus on the energy instead of the riffs?
These are the questions listeners must deal with, because Testing the Limits of Infinite is no where near originality in terms of songwriting, and that is grating for many. There's not a second on the disc that doesn't bleed traditional hardcore; the homey kind that's unfortunately far too commonplace. The breakdown in "In Absentia" sounds like a pre-teen's first attempt at writing one, closer "A Ghost In The City" is hardly distinguishable from opener "Mother Superior" (or any other track for that matter) and lyrical gems are rare: "It's always something new / The same fucking excuses / "I just can't quit" is at most the standard for such a band. The whole affair seems almost too amateur on a musical level.
So it's a good thing for Reign Supreme that music is never one-dimensional. Perfection exists in the familiar, and while the album by no means approaches perfection, there is a certain dexterity to it that can't be ignored. It's the sheer energy and rowdiness of it that saves it; the adrenaline of "And Come What May," the explosiveness of "Persevere and Overcome," and so on. And since the songs are practically homogenous, this applies to the entire album, making for a 13-track package of sheer potency.
Testing the Limits of Infinite, then, is a record for immediate satisfaction. There's no thinking needed when listening to this, and that's an advantage in certain moods. Still, it would be nice if there was even an ounce of creativity thrown in here. Right now, Reign Supreme is just a band testing the limits of the finite; hopefully, they can evolve without losing the vigor they've captured here.