Buffalo, NY-based Bungler has recently finished up their exciting two month “West for the Winter” tour, showcasing a dynamic that gets you on your feet. Displaying an effective mingling of hardcore sounds in their recent album The Nature of Being New, the band has gained comparisons to hometown heavy scene staples such as Every Time I Die. Having self released their work previously, this is their first release through label Innerstrength Records. The production is clean, and helps this self described “alt-hardcore three piece” maintain a full sound.
Entertaining and groovy, The Nature of Being New hits a collection of accepted hardcore music-scapes, and plays them well. Unfortunately it tends to lack innovation, and gets bogged down in hooks. “Finders Keepers, Takers Leavers” opens with a Doppler effect, indicative of the sound throughout adhering to a leashed chaos. There is noticeable homage to influential bands from the last ten years, and tracks on the album range in style. Listeners may find it too clean for their taste, however, especially as the intentionality behind it sets in. Most of the songs sound like the band is polishing up a dirtier sound post recording. Their aesthetic is dripping in grime, so the production quality seems disjointed from the message. Bungler has released some truly exciting songs though, such as “Double Glare,” for which a music video was released back in January. It brings the energy, feels genuine, and does not force a production gimmick. I found my personal favorite in “Opia.” It begins with a soundbite from Neuroscientist/Philosopher Sam Harris while attending the Global Atheist Convention in 2012. “Opia” shows a more organic song structure, and does not overuse a plain riff through multiple successions of the chorus. It is different than the other songs on The Nature of Being New in that it does not sound like it is trying to gain widespread approval. Other songs such as “Rotting Fruit (Is For the Birds)” are very palatable, but provide less depth. Ultimately feeling as if it was made for metal radio. This seems to stem mostly from the lack of ingenuity when tackling established riffs, and the verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure that Bungler often follows.
Above all, Bungler is entertaining, and makes your head rock. Despite my personal taste for more grit, these three really know how to bring a fierce performance. Furthermore, they show appreciation for many sounds, the punk vibe within “Death Breath” being especially noticeable. A surprising and fresh segment of the album. Bungler has put forth a solid effort with The Nature of Being New. They play some fun riffs, and the vocals, while full of angst, are not off putting so long as you like the style. They may not have reinvented the wheel, but they gave it oil and a shine, so it runs smoother now.
The Nature of Being New is now available via Innerstrength Records.