A.C.M.E – Volátil

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Label: Self-released/Independent

Bandcamp stream: Link

A.C.M.E (Al Comun Mas Explotado) play the kind of melodic music that falls between being hardcore and punk, and is sure to brighten your day. The twelve tracks on Volátil are catchy and well-crafted, and even if you’re like me and don’t understand what is being sung (the vocals are all in Spanish), you’ll still find these songs sticking in your head. Reminiscent of the likes of Bad Religion and Pennywise, but with the occasional heavier, more modern edge, you’ll find yourself humming the melodies on this album as you go about your day, and you won’t mind in the slightest.

It opens gently enough, with the first moments of “Implacable” drawing you in with some melodic guitar and soft drumming, but it’s not long before the band play their hand. Strong bass joins the mix for a one-riff break, before the vocals kick in and we’re well in to catchy, melodic punk/hardcore territory. A short chugging breakdown follows the chorus, complete with gang vocals, and it’s not long before there’s a guitar solo and some woah-oah’s. It’s a great song to kick the album off with, demonstrating perfectly the sound of the album.

There isn’t too much deviation from this template throughout the album, built as it is upon melodic guitar leads and riffs, catchy vocals, and occasional breakdowns and bass leads, but that’s no bad thing. One of the album’s strengths is that the sound is very consistent. There’s some heavier moments more focused on breakdowns and contrasting melodies, and others that are built around catchy gang vocals, so it’s hardly a one-dimensional affair. But on the whole, it’s all about the band’s mastery of the fundamentals, and they have them nailed down. The transition between guitar melody to woah-oahing near the end of “A Puno Y Letra” is a particular highlight, as is the bass lead during “Lo que vendrá” that flows in to a superb guitar solo. The album is full of great moments, with each song having something to offer. Were I to list each moment that caught my ear, I’d end up describing each song, and that wouldn’t do them justice.

Ultimately, it’s a very enjoyable album, though I suspect that understanding Spanish would increase my enjoyment of it considerably. Even so, there’s a lot here to recommend to fans of melodic punk and hardcore, and it’s an inspiring listen in the way that the best punk can be. If your previous encounters with the genre haven’t endeared it to you, then it’s unlikely that Volátil will change your mind, but if you’re in to this kind of music, you could do far worse than to give Volátil a listen.

Volátil can be streamed in full via Bandcamp, amongst other sources, and is also available for purchase through the band’s Bandcamp page.

Rating: 8.5/10

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