No Bragging Rights – Cycles
Record Label: Goodfight Records
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
In 2011, melodic hardcore band No Bragging Rights released sophomore record, Illuminator, which was a record that wasn’t on my radar, for whatever reason. I remember listening to it a couple times and just not really feeling it. Maybe other things came out at the time, but for whatever reason, I didn’t listen to it a lot. Well, fast-forward to 2012 and the band released their third record Cycles, and I’m very surprised I didn’t listen to it sooner. To put it simply, this tickles my melodic hardcore fancy; it’s short, to the point, but this does leave a lasting impression. Fellow melodic hardcore band Stick to Your Guns released a record in the spring of 2012 entitled Diamond, but that record doesn’t have as much lasting value to me for a few reasons. It does have lasting value, but as much as I hoped for. This record is kind of the same way. The biggest thing I like with bands like these are their lyrics; they’re certainly what I would call “inspirational.” The overall music is quite impressive, too, especially with this band, so that’s a plus, certainly.
The record opens with “The Advents of Change,” and this starts the record off on a very quiet note, because it begins with a guitar riff by Christian Lee and Daniel Garrow. The first minute has a slowly building guitar riff, but about a minute in, has vocalist Mike Perez screaming over the same guitar riff with some gang vocals appearing about halfway into the song. It’s a very fitting intro track, because it gets the album started, so to speak. However, as soon as second track “Hope Theory” starts, that’s when things get a lot more aggressive. It features a mix between Perez’s cleans and screams, but when the chorus comes… Oh my. His clean vocals are amazing. It’s been awhile since I listened to this band and I didn’t expect to hear his clean vocals. The lyrics on this song are also absolutely fantastic as well, which is true for the whole record, really. Next track “Appraisals and Omissions” is one of my favorite tracks on the record, actually. I love the chorus on it. Third track is the title track “Cycles,” which seems to follow in the previous track’s footsteps. That’s another amazing song as well. It takes everything good about No Bragging Rights and puts it into a three-minute song.
As the album goes on, it’s more or less the same, which is a bit of a problem. There are a few standout tracks, such as sixth track “Legacy.” This is the shortest song on the record, being only about two minutes, but it packs quite a punch, nonetheless. The track right after, “Fight For My Life,” is ironically a bit more “chill,” especially the middle, which actually has the record slowing down for a brief period. Then it kicks right up again with eighth track “Repeater,” but it’s not as heavy as say, “Legacy.” They seem to combine the right amount of melodic and hardcore for this track. It’s great. After that, we’re down to the last two songs, “The Prequel,” and “Ascension.” The former is an aggressive track that has a really awesome outro as well, and the latter is a really nice closing track. It doesn’t do too much for me, but it’s still enjoyable. Sadly, though, there is a hidden track on the album, but it’s not on the copy I own.
To put it simply, Cycles is a wonderful album. In a scene that really lacks any meaning or creativity, it’s nice to see a few bands step forward and actually have a message to convey. It really gives me hope for music in general, really. But in terms of melodic hardcore, this is a home run, and it’ll be getting cycles of listens from me. That pun was terrible, but nonetheless, the record is worth checking out.