Napoleonic Wars – LOOP TRAIN LINE

9/10 

Napoleonic Wars are an Australian post-hardcore band here with their late-in-the-year release LOOP TRAIN LINE. This ten-track album is an interesting listen; it’s got a cool blend of math rock, metalcore, and indie that the six-piece band manages to bring together without sounding forced or out of place. If you’re in the market for some mathy hardcore that’s a little more singo than it is screamo, Napoleonic Wars are worth your time.

The atmospheric and moody opening tune “IMPACT” slowly brings you into the album proper with the song “GENESIS.” This track has an interesting mix of sung and screamed vocals over top of an alternative metal kind of instrumental, sounding almost like a funky version of The Armed. The band’s clever instrumentation and vocal strength shines through again on the songs “BARRIERS” and “KISS TO KILL TIME,” both of which are reminiscent of something you might hear on an early album by The Fall of Troy. Normally, this would be the point at which I name my favourite song on the album. However, after listening to LOOP TRAIN LINE for the fourth time today, I really can’t decide on just one. If you’re this far into the review, just go and listen to the whole album. Well, nearly the whole album.

It would not be a proper review if I didn’t do some nitpicking, so here it is. “WOOKIE BLUNDERLAND” is a notable low point for me. The first single from this release, this second-to-last tune is the only time on the album that I feel Napoleonic Wars lose their flow. The song starts off strong enough, with strong melodic and screamed vocals that float above the complex instrumentation that we’ve come to know in the band’s previous eight tunes. And then that fucking dance beat comes in at the 2:00ish minute mark. LOOP TRAIN LINE has been tasteful about its genre-blending up until this point, but the tail end of this song feels cheap. I’m sure the band has a fun time playing “WOOKIE BLUNDERLAND” live, but I am a grumpy man approaching thirty and dislike fun of any kind.

Trivial quibbles and self-deprecation aside, LOOP TRAIN LINE is a great album and is absolutely worth the listen. Napoleonic Wars has found a polished mathcore type of sound that they can pull off impeccably. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to give this thing another listen.

Written by Justin Bruce
*Edited by Dominic Abate

About Justin Bruce 92 Articles
Justin is a Saskatoon-based musician with a degree from the University of Saskatchewan where he studied medieval and modern English. These days, he can usually be found behind the stack of comic books he’s trying to keep up with. Justin has been playing music since his early teens and has made 10’s of dollars from it in the years since. An enthusiastic packrat, his prized possession is a vinyl copy of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag.” Justin snores really loud if he’s been drinking and thought that Revenge of the Sith was actually a pretty sweet movie. You can hear Justin in Swayze, here: https://swayzelives.bandcamp.com, and A Ghost in Drag, here: https://aghostindrag.bandcamp.com, and you will occasionally see him and his bandmates playing Beerio Kart on tour.

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