After listening to music from whatever general scene name encompasses hardcore, punk, metal, emo, and indie/alternative for the last 10 years, I’ve seen plenty of bands slowly fade out. There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing a band you’ve loved for years continue to put out records that just plain aren’t doing it for ya anymore.
It’s like if your cat, Thomas, crossed the street and got severely crippled from being hit by a car but wasn’t dead yet. One train of thought suggests that you just gotta put it out of its misery and move on. On the other hand though, you loved Thomas. You grew up with that fucker. You’ve been through some real shit together and you want him to be with you for as long as possible.
It’s a tough decision to be made for sure. Some bands choose to live with the crippled cat by their side while others kill it off. There is no right or wrong choice here, but I have much respect for bands that know when their time is up and choose to move on.
Did that analogy make any sense? Should I just stop writing this article now?
Too bad. I’m still going.
Anyway, Expire probably still had a handful of good records left in them but you never really know. The same tried-and-true formula can only work for so long before it gets old and a band loses its steam.
Fortunately, With Regret is as tasty and aggressive as any of their previous works, if not more so!
By making this their last album, they chose to leave the hardcore world as passionately as they entered. Over the summer, they announced their plans:
“Come Spring of next year, we’ll be putting the band to rest. There isn’t some huge explanation to give. To put it simply, we all decided that we would rather end it on our terms and when we want to, rather than fade off. We’ve never been the type to only play a few shows here and there or sit dormant for any amount of time. Expire started as a band that didn’t know how to slow down and that’s the way we’ll end it. This band snowballed into something none of us planned for and before it’s done, we want to extend a very real thank you to anyone and everyone who had a part in it over the past 7 years. Writing this comes with a pretty insane feeling, but really; thanks for supporting us, it’s been fun.
Obviously with all of this being said, With Regret will be our final album. We could toss in one of a thousand clichés about it but simply put, it’s the record we wanted to leave on.”
There’s a lot of weight behind that statement, not just in saying goodbye but also in raising the bar for their 3rd and final full length. 2012’s Pendulum Swings was a banger and I still frequently turn to it when I feel like listening to something heavy. 2014’s Pretty Low continued the trend and kept the fire burning for the gem that this record turned out to be.
Seriously. If you’re a fan of heavy and angry rapid-fire music, then you will enjoy this album.
Their record label, Bridge Nine, described the record:
A little heavier and just as fierce as ever, the Midwest Blood champions cruise across sub-two-minute juggernauts purging their feelings on damaged relationships and introspective exorcisms. With Regret is the first Expire album recorded outside of their mainstay studio, Howl Street, having traveled up to Chicago’s Bricktop Studios with Andy Nelson. The new environment takes them out of their comfort zone and results in subtle new twists to the band’s sound, which bounces with a caustic, fraught anxiety, more memorable riffs, and focused vocals that retain all their previous bile and despair.
Yeah, that sums it up pretty well.
Short jams, heavy riffs and breakdowns. It’s classic Expire. Speaking of breakdowns, “Regret” has probably my favorite one of the year! It’s organic, doesn’t feel forced, is dirty as hell, and is prefaced with these gritty lyrics.
There are words I wish I never said
Holding my breath, live with regret
I let my guard down, I fell asleep
With fingers crossed, I got kicked in the teeth
I spoke too soon, I lost my head
I pushed myself, fell to my death
Not the outcome I expected to see
It meant less to you and more to me
Kicked in the teeth
I’ve never been super keen on macho, hyper-masculine tough guy music but this is different. I like to envision a hockey player jamming this while he laces up his skates in a locker room somewhere in Minnesota and envisions the pummeling he’s gonna give some poor kid on the opposing team.
This probably stems from my first-hand account of seeing these guys play the Troubadour in Hollywood a few years ago with my younger brother. Expire was one of the openers and so there weren’t a lot of people in the venue yet. We stood at the front of the pit wall near the back of the room by the bar watching as the hardcore dancers flailed themselves at each other and the surrounding crowd. One of the dudes came spinning in our direction and totally nailed the guy standing next to us with either his foot or his fist (I can’t remember which). I just know it was hardcore as fuck! The kid had his glasses broken while they rested on his face and his nose was bleeding as a result. It was gnarly. But that’s the price you pay to be HxC, bro.
I was inspired, got into Expire’s music from that day on, and bought some merch because of it. I’ve been a fan ever since.
This album is a worthy release for the band to go out on. They have every right to be proud of what they’ve done thus far in their music career and now Josh, Zach, Marcus, and Caleb can move forward with the next chapter in their lives.
You can jam it below and go punch something.