Handsome - Handsome (1997)

Handsome
1 Needles
2 Ride Down
3 Going To Panic
4 Left of Heaven
5 Thrown Away
6 Dim The Lights
7 Lead Bellied
8 My Mind's Eye
9 Waiting
10 Quiet Liar
11 Eden Complex
12 Swimming

Introduction

What do Peter Mengede, Tom Capone and Pete Hines have in common, apart from the fact that you probably don't know their names? Well for one, they all played in bands, you most likely DO know, if hardcore is something you can relate to. Let's drop the names: Helmet, Cro-Mags, Quicksand, Murphy's Law. Sounds familar? It should. If not, there is some catch-up to do.

The thing with rock-supergroups is, that they are normally quite boring. Not brave enough to do their own thing, not creative enough to step out of their main bands' shadow. It's a mix of individuals that haven't played before and that reflects in the songs. Normally, because Handsome were different.

The Sound

Not different in the sense that they sounded unlike anything else they did before. But they sure were different, quality-wise. Let's start by answering the obvious. Is this a hardcore album? To answer this let's take a quick look at their past bands. There is Helmet, always labeled Hardcore, but in reality they were a Noiserock band with a tendency to heavy riffing. Then there is Cro-Mags, a band noone ever was able to clearly categorize as either Metal or Hardcore. Quicksand is probably the closest to a Hardcore band, but even they were... different. If you really need to compare Handsome with its members former bands, it mostly sounds like a mixture of Helmet-like riffing, paired with Quicksands way of creating melodies.

The production on this thing is very tight. Sharp drums, Noisy, but clear and heavy guitars, create the sound fundament for this 46 minute trip. Most songs have somewhat epic refrains, which makes it easy to remember them. "Needles", "Thrown Away" or "Dim the Lights" are obvious hits and it really makes you wonder, why this band never took off.

If there is one weak spot in Handsomes sound, it's the vocals. Jeremy Chatelain has kind of a weak voice, spot on with the melodies, but lacking in charisma. But this is easily compensated by the quality of the song material on this album.

If you are into hardcore bands like the ones mentioned, I highly recommend to listen to this thing. I give it a

9/10

and consider this a personal classic.

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