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May 1, 2008

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Unlike metal, my thirst for punk rock is quite quenchable. As a matter of fact, I’d say I don’t even have a thirst for punk at this point. Don’t get me wrong though, I love the stuff - it was one of the preliminary stepping-stones that eventually lead me to the dark and scary land of metal. It’s just that I’ve got most of the classics that I desire and I don’t make much of an effort to pursue the genre’s newer bands. That said, Paint it Black are one of the few recent punk bands that, along with label mates Strike Anywhere and From Ashes Rise (RIP), have managed to penetrate my hardened soul and remind me how much fun I used to have with this style of music.

This Philly group is masterminded by Dan Yemin, perhaps better known for guitar duties with Lifetime and Kid Dynamite (two more highly recommended bands), though Paint It Black have definitely become a standalone act over the years with this, their third quality full-length release. While the first two releases, 2003’s CVA and 2005’s Paradise are both energetic and fun endeavors, Yemin and company have really stepped it up for New Lexicon. The thing is, they aren’t doing anything particularly different than they’ve done in the past. However, the sense of passion and intensity found here as well as the overall execution is just a notch or two above the past releases.

A lot of typical hardcore fare is present, but it's done right and accented by elements a lot less commonplace. Most notably, “Severance” is rife with interesting structural twists and features a guest noise/ambient/electronic seague from Oktopus, production guru of Dalek. The post-hardcoreish riffing and pulsing bass groove of “White Kids Dying of Hunger” is another example of the band thinking outside of the hardcore box. My personal favorite track “Past Tense, Future Perfect” opens with Yemin furiously shouting “It’s got nothing to do with luck and it's got nothing to do with sin!/You said ?°»God’s got it in for you, you’re fucked’ but I don’t believe in him!” though the track ends up being one of the more melodic and catchy herein finishing up with Yemin anthemically proclaiming “We are invincible/We may bend, but we will not be broken!”

Simply put, if you like punk you need to give New Lexicon a try. It’s not about trends or political lip service - this is a real, passionate punk album put out by scene veterans that know how to put a punk album together.

Metal Review

Tyler Wagnon