So full disclosure before I start this thing; Trevor (drums) and Scott (Vocals) are friends of mine. I obviously checked this band out because they are in it. Now, under no circumstances would that stop me from shitting on this if it were garbage. Luckily for them, it’s not. Philadelphia area band getXwell play an interesting, mathy brand of hardcore that’s not only good, but it may be one of the more unique sounds I’ve heard emerge out of hardcore in some time.
I’m really glad getXwell is good. It would suck to bum my friends out by writing a review that just absolutely shits on their hard work. Formed out of former members of Sovereign, Ancestor, and Prevail, local bands who put in their time in the Philadelphia scene, getXwell is not a bunch of fresh faced kids trying something new. It to me, is a reflection of long time musicians truly creating music they’d enjoy listening to. When you’re 30 or over and in a band, it’s sort of pointless to pander to an audience unless you’re aiming for commercial success. These guys definitely aren’t doing either. It makes me truly happy to know they’re playing the sort of music they love, and they’re doing so with a proficiency that shows their experience and talent. I’m also glad there’s a straightedge band out there that avoids the trappings of that genre’s monotony. Their social media presence isn’t littered with maxims, and their sound isn’t just a copycat of what is thought of as “straightedge hardcore”.
I’ll keep this brief because it is a brief EP. Fans of Botch, The Refused, Breather Resist, Norma Jean (ugh), and other similar bands will find a lot to like here. Between the odd time signatures that carry the song, the swaggering math rock riffs, and the mix of shouted and screamed vocals, getXwell treads a well worn path, but does so with a fresh outlook. Normally bands who remotely sound like Botch choose to go full Botch, and do a poor fascimile of Botch. This is not the case here. getXwell is never content to rest on someone else’s laurels. Songs like “Black Lodge” invoke shades of rock and roll and do so with a swagger that everyone’s favorite metalcore band never bothered to even attempt. The songwriting is varied, and while you can absolutely tell there are common threads running through the whole EP (hell, the songs are purposefully bled together to make it a very coherent listen), no two songs sound exactly the same.
I back getXwell heavily. I recommend them to anyone that’s remotely of a fan of the bands I’ve name checked above. They are definitely not the sort of stuff I listen to much anymore, but I was into the whole EP, and even enjoyed listening to it again a final time as I wrote this. I would love to see them explore their rocky side, and if anything negative can be said about this EP, it’s that it left me wanting more. The longest song isn’t even four minutes, so sometimes it felt as songs would pick up steam and then end. Not to say longer songs are necessary, maybe just more songs.
Release Date: May 21st, 2017
For Fans of: Breather Resist, Refused, Botch