ALBUM REVIEW: Incendiary – Change The Way You Think About Pain


When looking up the meaning of the word incendiary you are met with the following definition ‘tending to excite or inflame’. This feels appropriate for a Metallic Hardcore band of the same name who have been tearing it up since 2007. 

The Long Island crew Incendiary have been fairly prolific with a series of EPs and splits with Change The Way You Think About Pain (Closed Casket) marking their fourth full-length to date and the long-awaited follow-up to 2017’s Thousand Mile Stare.  


Rage Against the Machine were mentioned in the album’s promo-notes and this is evident with ‘Bite The Hook’, especially in the vocal department. Thankfully that band’s self-righteousness doesn’t appear to have crept in here with Incendiary adopting a less didactic approach. Musically, it’s pretty effective rap metal-influenced hardcore, not too dissimilar to what Downset were producing in the 1990s. ‘Jesus Bones’ is a slightly more dynamic prospect with post-hardcore flourishes not totally unlike Orange 9MM and impressive drumming that recalls Louie Beato‘s work on Agnostic Front‘s classic Cause For Alarm.


The lyrical content of ‘Echo of Nothing’ with its refrain of “every window deserves a brick” is anything but subtle while the music tips its hat to the kind of crunchy nu-metal that Earth Crisis were serving up on Slither which in turn was taking cues from Biohazard, Slipknot, and Machine Head. In other words, if late 90’s/early 2000s era Metal is your thing you’ll go positively bananas for this number. 


‘Host/Parasite’ is decidedly metallic, the riffs coming straight from the Slayer playbook and with a little Merauder (Master Killer?) thrown in for good measure. Modern hardcore shows tend to feature the spin-kick style of moshing and this track guarantees this is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. ‘Lie of Liberty’ has a similarish vibe to Madball and some of the “Heavy Hardcore” of yesteryear and may explain why I wasn’t totally knocked out by it, meanwhile ‘CTE’ by contrast has some faster death metal tendencies that make it a good deal more thrilling than its predecessor. The drumming also recalled Lars Ulrich‘s work on ‘One’, before he became stock (to use his own term). Possibly the fastest-sounding track on the album and a welcome change in pace. 


‘Collision’ is pretty tasty with some thick grooves on hand to help get your head bobbing. Elements of bands like Skarhead and OS101 are evident, there is indeed that classic Victory Records sound present that will give the listener a pleasantly nostalgic kick. ‘Rats In The Cellar’ has a cool grimy feel to it and recalled early Machine Head around the time of Burn My Eyes with the aforementioned Merauder once again coming to the fore and ‘Santosha (Illusion of the Self) has some decent breakdowns and gang choruses in tow. 


‘Change the Way You Think About Pain’ is the album’s longest track at nearly five minutes and by extension its most epic sounding with some atmospherics that help add a little more texture and diversity to the band’s otherwise pummelling sound. 


Frontman Brendan Garrone spoke of the band “refining the sound that we’ve optimally been working towards rather than any desire to make a huge pivot” and therein lies the problem for me, the tracks at times felt a little interchangeable. I don’t listen to hardcore necessarily expecting staggering musical complexity, however, a little variety in terms of tempo for instance would ultimately have paid dividends. The band are exceptional musicians and have made what is a solid record, but one which ultimately failed to give me goosebumps. 


Buy the album here:

6 / 10