Ink Bomb‘s Fiction is a masterclass in four-piece melodic Punk Rock. It’s aggressive, catchy, and – while unafraid of wearing its influence on its sleeve – is full of original songs. This album is immediately recognizable as a take on the Bad Religion formula, but I would argue it makes some notable improvements.
While Bad Religion can feel a little repetitive, this album always knows when to change things up to keep your interest. It draws you in with a quiet verse or interlude, then explodes into a wall of sound. The vocals never seem to repeat the same phrasing twice. Other than choruses, each line gets tweaked enough to make sure you keep paying attention. Punk music has a bad habit of wielding vocalists like a hammer, repeating the same phrasing and melodies so they can spit out lines with maximum aggression. Ink Bomb doesn’t do that. Their vocal melodies are subtle and deceptively complex, but never lacking in emotion. In fact, this more nuanced approach heightens the emotional impact.
The guitar, besides the occasional arpeggiated chord in bridges, is a distorted powerhouse of a rhythm instrument. The drums can go from driving Punk beat to a syncopated interlude. They drive the changes and set the tone for each section of the song. The bass occasionally breaks out of its progressions for a fill, but for the most part, the hooks are coming from the vocals, which are enriched by expertly placed backup vocals. They can be standard backing vocals, enhancing lines while staying in the background, or they can be huge, epic harmonies as overpowering as any other instrument when the band ramps up to full speed.
Check this album out if you like Bad Religion, Rise Against, or if you’re just into melodically focused punk bands.