BALBOA – Balboa

Though their official bio says that their sound is akin to bands like YAGE, I, ROBOT, and HOPESFALL, to these ears they have more to do with bands like old KATATONIA, OCTOBER TIDE, OPETH, and AGALLOCH. They are definitely a hardcore band but one that is heavily influenced by metal bands that specialize in a more melodic, doomy, and folky style. They work on a foundation of long instrumental passages with clean electric and acoustic guitars, in the vein of AGALLOCH, that are contrasted with heavier, raging moments. BALBOA do a good job of creating an introspective, subdued tone throughout the album. The band is comprised of some talented musicians, especially drummer Drew Juergens whose technical drumming adds a nice depth to the sound. The album definitely has its moment but these moments don’t last long enough. Their immaturity is exposed in the lack of cohesion of the material. You’re left with a record with some loose ends. Many of the passages are virtually interchangeable and the songs lack strong individual character. These shortcomings become further magnified when you compare BALBOA to the European bands that pioneered and mastered this sound. Despite these shortcomings, these guys definitely have the potential to grow into something strong. They have this charm about them undoubtedly comes from their hardcore spirit. Hopefully, BALBOA will become the band that they ought to be. (Forge Again Records)

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