Don’t Sleep – “Turn The Tide” (Mission Two Entertainment)
Battle Helm Rating
Can’t decide if you’re old school or modernist in your taste of melodic hardcore? Then try Don’t Sleep, featuring legendary Dag Nasty frontman Dave Smalley (DYS, Down By Law, ALL) and members of Harrisburg punk rockers The Commitments, who since 2017 have released 2 EPs and shared stages with Shelter, Sick Of It All, Madball, Face To Face, and performed on the final Vans Warped Tour in 2018. Now, with renowned names like Grammy-nominated producers Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland (August Burns Red), along with New York hardcore icon Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Quicksand) producing, this red-hot 12 track debut brings it all together in the world of melodic hardcore! Opening up with feedback, title track ‘Don’t Sleep’ hammers in with Rancid riffing and wailing punk pop melodies for just over a minute before ‘No Other Way’ continues in similar style, albeit with slower moments where the emo shout outs do the number over the screaming guitars. Offering a powerful contrast of ambiance and intensity, ‘Reflection’ has plenty of energy emanating from the powering guitars, but is equally resplendent with quieter but no less moving guitar chimes while Smalley adds his seasoned soul to bring it all home to your heart. Reminiscent of Fugazi with its deep bass, catchy reggae style groove and cranked riffs, ‘True North’ explodes in similar style as the power riffs bask in the glory of pure punk rock energy before ‘Abandoned’ rockets into overdrive amid a stampede of drums as Smalley rapid fires in his vocals backed by a mix of harmonies and shout outs that adds a soulful emo touch to it all – nice. Bringing in some heaviness on ‘Walking In Sinai’, the rumbling bass and heavy riffs grab you immediately as The Clash did back in the 70s as Smalley’s repeated song title lines do the trick in going right back to punk’s DIY style of keeping it simple but immensely memorable thanks to the composing skill of this veteran crew. Indeed, going full old school hardcore on ‘Refine Me’, you couldn’t have titled this song better as this one has it all from massive shout outs to razor riffing and crooning punk melodies in a sound that’s so thick you actually feel you’re there in the slam dance pit with the energy of the band pulsating through your veins! Close to 5 minutes long, ‘The Wreckage’ is the longest song on the album and takes you back to the mash it up style of Bad Brains with its electric fusion of reggae ambiance contrasted explosively by supercharged hardcore energy. “Turn The Tide” is an elite level release put together by hardcore’s legends and you certainly won’t be sleeping on this one!