The hardcore world is well aware of the difficulty in and importance of crafting a quality full-length. Countless bands far more suited to the 7” have faltered at the altar of the LP. 3weekoldroses, the barbed bruisers from Philadelphia, clearly didn’t get the message. Anyone previously aware of the ambitious unit shouldn’t be caught surprised, as they’ve again captured their firebrand take on hardcore with their brand new long player More Weight. The strength of lead singles “1 of 6” and “Negative You” sufficiently whetted my appetite, but the true meal here is in the album tracks.
Before you scoff at the word “mature” when applied to hurling superlatives at an album cycle and it’s accompanying press junket, it’s just as likely to seen as pejorative. Lest you think growth is supplanted by repetition or resignation, the maturity on display here is akin to when we first heard the opening notes of “Same Son” off the back of The Things We Carry. One is hit immediately with the leap in structure, lyricism, and thematic touchstones.
Though they certainly share some sonic DNA with the Beantown heroes, there’s a unique grandiosity at play on “More Weight” that was only hinted at before. They still regularly call upon the speed, muscle, and Youth Crew-like mutations of their 2017 debut full-length, Nothing Against You, when needing emphasis. The true firepower in their arsenal here lies more in the mid-paced, in the towering and epic melodic angst that allows it to play like a year-end lister. Let’s lighten your load on More Weight and unpack it… song by song.
If what the band promises is true, first track “The End Begins Here” beckons the final. In lieu of a thehard charge, we’re instead flanked by an insistent and plaintive guitar line that gives way to an epic vocal. There are hints of everything from the rock 'n' roll of Suicide File to the agonizing, self aware landscape-building of Shipwreck. When the intro bursts into the grueling midsection, it’s with the intensity of the sky opening. The weight we carry is predetermined but clearly the band has been lifting it their whole lives. The end, fittingly, instrumentally reprises the beginning. It all begins here.
Initially dropped in May, “Negative You” mines similar territory to the opener, albeit in slightly speedier fashion. It stutters and staggers with the scope of a closing track which is, ultimately, 3weekoldroses flashing their biggest asset… a daring ambition. The anchor riff of the song is a melancholic downswing that, when attached to a vocal sample, gives it a level of both hometown degradation and disillusionment a la Modern Life is War’s Witness. There’s even a touch of the preemptive backward glancing nostalgia of Bane’s final mission statement.
There’s a lurching vibe to the drum intro of “If you don’t feel the same” that springboards into straightforward Youth Crew, divebomb and all. Yet, the band never seems content to live in one house for long, as the pace is traded for a chug that vacuums everything in its path. The bass even has a scuzzy moment to threaten before falling back into serving the song. The band’s near constant swings of the pendulum feel more necessary than expected.
The title track, as is often the case, far and away, the grandest achievement of the album. It moves fluidly between movements as opposed to cobbled together parts. When the backing vocals first come in, it’s impeccably placed and hits with the anvil impact of revisiting the “self-inflicted” wounds they decry. It actually feels like the weight in question is both served and lifted. “More Weight” is also a testament to a crisp and airy recording that favors the band over the individual. One of my songs of the year thus far, get leveled.
I’ve already tipped my hand on what I thought of lead single “1 of 6.” "Unmarked" is a mid-album burner that simplifies the structure of the previous few tracks. Highlighted by a guest spot by No Option’s Jack Zabinski, it tosses in a recklessly downtuned bass breakdown. The dual throat attack presents their most feral vocal presentation to date. Lyrically a high point as well, it directly challenges a fear of the inevitable. That death and rot is inherent in beauty, the promise of memory and legacy by those you’ve touched is a gorgeous touch to something so menacing. You won’t be forgotten, at least by me…”I don’t wanna be a forgotten name, a forgotten grave...No Roses.” 3weekoldroses, first of their name, have come to reclaim their throne. Prepare the crown of thorns.
The following track plays with staccato and groovy vibes. The metallic bounce and crush gives it an almost vertical reach that honors the heights they’re reaching for.
Eight is great. “Skies opened, so did my eyes” is a mid-paced ranger that recalls Regulate’s most recent LP. Their use of dynamics is on full display, pitting the vocals against the instrumentation for a fight for top placement on the marquee. Topically daring as well, the treatise on religion, doubt, and soul-searching leads to the same realization. The bigger propositions best left unanswered in favor of acceptance of self. The judge you seak lies not in the skies.
Opening with a melancholic and breezy intro, a simple melody plucked over 4/4 beat. As expected, they clear the lane for the hard charge. "Social Desert" invites both the pain and freedom inherent in solitude, casually playing with metaphor a la “Words like water.” They return from their tightly metallic fury to the tranquil oasis of the opening. If it’s created art as good as this, may they remain forever unquenched, searching and unsatisfied. never to find the well.
“Spent” opens traditionally enough, but after the cold build, we’re again gifted the gang vocals, which are wisely kept in their back pocket. There’s an absolutely dope riff buried halfway into the track that again vaults itself into shouting group terrain. There’s a quickening that’s a wise match for the anguish of the lyrical content. Honestly, it would be a great final track if what came next wasn’t necessary.
On the last track, 3weekoldroses manage to cram bits of washy shoegaze into their Trojan Horse. With hints of everything from '90s post-hardcore, it also recalls Fiddlehead, Hum, Floral Green-era Title Fight, Hum, and Teenage Wrist. Again as the dudes are wont to do, quickly devolves into their chugging bounce. As much as the flourishes of Quicksand recall that era, recent acts like Adrenaline carve their own path with similar success. They wisely build upon the funerary sadness that their name conjures to build the back end of the track into an elegiac moment of catharsis.
Sure, they’re a personal favorite at the moment but, to these ears, there’s not a wasted moment among its 28 minute runtime. Ending with the line “You’ll Be Missed” repeated, seemingly ad infinitum, they’re far too present to be truly mourned. Deny the grave all you want, l it’ll come eventually. Until we lie beneath the cruel barbed thorns of memories honored, 3weekoldroses bleed all over this LP. Death is an invitation to live.
Catch ‘em on tour crisscrossing the entire US starting June 27th. Everyone will feel the “weight.”