The straight edge hardcore scene has been around since the 80s through bands like Teen Idles, Gorilla Biscuits, and Youth of Today. They paved a way for a whole scene to blossom and provide us with bands like Vantage Point.
Vantage Point, a band from Massachusetts, has been putting out music since October of 2016 when they put out a three song EP titled Vantage Point (recorded at The Coliseum in Mass). They would follow this EP up with another two song EP in 2017 titled BHC Promo which was done in accordance with other bands in the scene such as Pummel, Rule Them All, C4, and Restraining Order. It was put together by Doug Ostroskey (Tribe Dream Records) and Sam Yarmuth (Triple B Records) to raise money for local organizations.
In 2018, Vantage Point put out their self-titled EP, distributed under Straight & Alert Records. They put out their first venture with Triple B Records in August of 2019 with their Promo 2019 EP. In October of the same year, they released another EP under Triple B Records, An Answer You Won’t Find. This year brought upon the release of their debut record Against Myself.
Against Myself was released on November 10 through Triple B Records and it had two singles before its release. The two singles released were “Slow To Fix A Feeling” and “A Reminder.”
Against Myself is a 9 song record that clocks in at seventeen and a half minutes. It’s short but punchy, allowing the point and message to come across while leaving some room for the listener to want more from the rest of the band’s catalog or go for an immediate repeat of the record.
“Amends” is the first track on the record which refuses to hide its themes as the opening lyrics from singer Russel Campot let out, “Who said my ideas can’t break or bend?; It’s not a “how” but “where and when?”. This forty-three second song announces the themes of this record right away bleeding into the rest of the album as “Amends” goes straight into “The Ask.”
“The Ask” starts properly with a super sick bass line from bassist Owen Viles that grooves into a slower yet powerful opening grooves with an amazing drumming performance from drummer Sean Rose. Rose commands the song during a solo that backs up Campot’s vocals as he belts out “Can you say you tried?; Can you say that you won’t give up this time?”. The way the instrumentals and vocals compliment each other on this record is outstanding as it is a chemistry that puts power behind the messages across the album.
Listening to this record gave me flashbacks to bands that you could have found on the early days of Dischord Records. Very punchy, straightforward, and passionate hardcore music that is filled with a feeling of togetherness. While this record looks at self identity and choices made within one’s life it, the relatability within it is strong. There are two tracks in particular that I immediately flock to when it comes to the relatability of the record, those songs are “Not Much More” and “Against Myself.”
The opening of “Not Much More” is similar in the same vein as the opening “The Ask” where Viles lays down a bass groove that slowly progresses as the other instruments and vocals join in. To me this song is an amazing representation of someone who has been beaten and battered and is just looking for a break eventually leading to them getting upset or even breaking down. This is represented musically as guitarist, Doug Ostroskey, takes over the song with a mosh-inducing riff which leads to the track quickening its pace as it pushes its finish line.
“Against Myself” is an interesting track as it feels like an ongoing build up that builds into the track after “Tired of Looking Back.” This doesn’t mean “Against Myself” is one to look past as the instrumentals are just as good on this track as the others with multiple crescendos and decrescendos all throughout allowing multiple points of anticipation. Not to mention, lyrically, this one invokes the most thought provoking through lines like “it’s only when you’re in your head what comes out is what’s left unsaid” and “I wanna change, I don’t want to stay the same.” With the main themes of the record being an introspective on life, this track dives into that point where someone is being retrospective after realizing things aren’t going right but they just can’t get out of their own headspace to do something about it.
The album closes off with “Swear” which is the right kind of ending for this record. It conquers the concept of time passing by and allowing it to even though things will happen in between. It is very anthemic repeating the last few lines “Sit still, one last time, these moments pass you by. So hold on to that insight, I swear this felt so right.” multiple times. Musically, the song cuts off after its last build up ending on a cold note providing a conclusive end to the album.
Against Myself is a record that I didn’t know that I needed at this moment. As someone who also follows the straight edge lifestyle, I can relate to many of the themes and ideas presented by the band. The in your face attitude the band brings with the instrumentals accompanied with the great vocals and lyrics creates for a brutal introspective look on how one lives life and how the decisions they make affects them. Don’t let the shortness of the record fool you, even though it is an easy listen it will not be only listen through you give it within the hour of listening. It is one you can put on repeat without getting sick of. This record is a great debut from the band and just leaves me wanting even more from them. You can check the band out through Triple B Records’ website here.