The Florida-based melodic hardcore band has truly released a hardcore album, with gravely, shouted-out vocals and lots of dirty but flowing riffs with seemingly little post-recording production, which keeps the album natural. After hearing With Increase’s first full-length, Death is Inevitable, I found out what happens when retro gets laced with relentless power.
The first taste starts with a thumping track, and did a good job setting the scene for how heavy the album will ever get. While the album takes on a slow rhythmic pace at times, it has no trouble slipping into a frenzied furor that will please to-the-death-hardcore fans, like “Untitled,” “The Accuser” and “Get Me Out.”
With Increase is also described as “spirit-filled hardcore,” and it’s quite appropriate. They make their faith a huge part of their band as shown in their subject matter: regret, disappointment, temptation, redemption. For example, “Bones” is a fast-paced song memoir of sorts, featuring a person regretting their life of emptiness (“I wish I could take back all this pain I caused when I was trying to find the meaning of life”). In “Untitled,” the singer wonders why he “can’t learn from (his) mistakes,” something that echoes Paul’s frustrations with repeating sins in Romans 7.
Some standout songs include “Hell For Myself,” which has some melodramatic riffs that assist with the grave nature of the song, and “Comatose,” a song of redemption (“I stand here burdened, my arms outstretched, pleading Heaven to open its gaze upon this son of regret / So if I can only sing just one more song, may it be the victory anthem of Christ Jesus alone”). It starts very slow, but leads to an appropriate climax; it’s a powerful song even though it’s the shortest song on the album (1:36).
It’s hard to keep monotony and repetitiveness out of hardcore, and at times the album lapses into some small ruts. The redeeming factor, however, is the fact that most of the are around the two-minute mark, so it isn’t a chore to sit through some of the mediocre songs. But With Increase has an album that makes them impossible to ignore. Even though it’s only March, Death is Inevitable is in the hardcore album of the year discussion.