It takes either ability or uniqueness to break through in the congested UK hardcore scene, with new bands emerging and competing on a daily basis. TRC have had both of the above for a few years now but have never really surfaced, remaining as primarily an underground band. ‘Nation’ should see that change because it’s undoubtedly their best and most accomplished work. The fact it’s being partly released by No Sleep Records will help but ‘Nation’ is a beast of entirely its own making, which should see the band become pioneers of crossover music.
TRC’s main appeal comes in the form of lead vocalist Chris Robson, who delivers his strongest performance on ‘Nation’. He’s the aspect of TRC that will make or break how you value the album – for me he defined it. Robson is excellent both vocally and lyrically, and ‘Nation’ is at its best when he has the mic. His grime influenced rapping style won’t sit with everyone but it works very well on his bands third full length. It gives TRC that uniqueness I mentioned earlier, and adds another level to their music that sets it above standard hardcore music. It isn’t just his lyrics or confidence, but the venom with which he delivers, most noticeable on ’10,000 Hours’ where he fires off about his own ability, whilst showcasing his storytelling ability. Secondary vocalist Anthony Carroll takes more of a backseat on ‘Nation’, only appearing on 4 tracks, but his raspy shouting adds ferocity and bite to the albums heavier and more traditional hardcore songs like ‘Motivator’. The back and forth moments between the two on lead singles ‘#TeamUK’ and ‘We Bring War’ are excellent, but Carroll is more suited for a live environment, and never really shines in the studio.
However, there’s a lot more to TRC than their two contrasting vocalists. Instrumentally ‘Nation’ is excellent, ticking all the boxes for a release of this type. It thunders along and rarely relents, bar a few quieter moments for Robson to take the reins. It’s exhilarating and heavy in equal measure with plenty of breakdowns, and a few guitar solos on ‘Ex Games’ and ‘Weekend Walls’. There isn’t a massive amount of variety, sticking to a traditional heavy hardcore sound and using it to run listeners into the ground. It does become a little repetitive towards the final few tracks, but considering its longer than a lot of hardcore albums it is somewhat expected. There’s a bit more experimentation on ‘Between Bridges’, which has a soaring chorus to match the female vocals the song contains, but for the most part ‘Nation’ is riff heavy and savage, with a few electronic elements thrown in for good measure. The opening minute of final track ‘Nation’ and closing minute of ’10,000 Hours’ show the band can excel without vocals and some of these more technical instrumental moments are truly devastating. ‘Nation’ consists of twelve songs that will make you want to break stuff, and considering TRC’s already crushing live shows, the songs here will cause chaos.
The tracks where the vocals and instrumentals are equally aggressive and adventurous are when ‘Nation’ really hits its peak. I’ve given ‘#TeamUK’ a lot of time since hearing it on Radio 1 at the start of the year and it’s one of the best songs on show here, offering a take on the British music scene and name-dropping artists like Dappy and Lower Than Atlantis. ‘We Bring War’ is probably the most accomplished from an instrumental perspective, whilst ‘Beefeater 1’ and Beefeater 2’ perfectly capture the destructive side of TRC, sounding more like statements of intent than songs. Sure, ‘Nation’ won’t top any end of year lists, but it is 43 minutes of blistering experimental hardcore that’s hard to forget and even harder to ignore. The Revolution Continues.
Rating – 9/10