Hostage Calm Kills it Again with Die on Stage
“I worked so tirelessly on this album. Every last thing I had. Two years of writing, two months of sleepless recording, and 35 fucking songs later, we have finally created our opus.” I happen to follow Chris “CMar” Martin, lead singer of Hostage Calm, on Instagram and that’s what he had to say about the release of the band’s latest album, Die on Stage. The dedication and talent channeled into this album is evident in each song. Although Hostage Calm has strayed away from the generic punk sound found on their earlier albums, their steadfast commitment to combatting the problems plaguing our generation remains true.
With each album, Hostage Calm has taken astronomical risks and with that has come obvious success. This album consists of 10 songs that all bring something different to the table. While the first single of the album, “Your Head/Your Heart” draws inspiration from Beatlemania, the second single, “A Thousand Miles Away from Here”, appeals to their earlier punk sound. After being together as a band for more than seven years, Hostage Calm has experienced several transformations and finally developed a unique sound that highlights the band’s talents.
In earlier albums, the vocally timid CMar often got drowned out by crunchy guitar/bass riffs and heavy drumming. On this album, however, his transformation into a talented and confident singer shows as he establishes his vocal prowess. On the ballad, “12/31”, the minimal instrumentation compliments CMar’s emotional and raw vocals about taking on the world alone. Meanwhile, during “Fallen Angel” Cmar demonstrates his vocal flexibility as he belts out some ridiculously high notes during the closing of the song.
The remainder of the band, similar to CMar, has definitely evolved since the band came together in 2007. Although Hostage Calm has switched drummers since their last album, the rhythm section sounds tighter than ever. The combination of Tim Casey plucking away on the bass and Keith “K.Bot” Sidorowicz holding down the kit provides a solid foundation for guitarists Nick Balzano and tom Chiari to layer the songs with intricate, catchy guitar riffs. The boys definitely experimented on this album and it paid off as no two songs sound alike yet every one remains catchy.
An interesting aspect of this album that isn’t often found on other albums revolves around the auxiliary percussion. Just about every song on this album features some type of auxiliary percussion part, primarily bells or glockenspiel. Although they are rather subtle, they add an interesting dimension to the songs and highlight the pop sound Hostage Calm has adopted on this album. I really hope they feature the smaller, yet integral instrumentations during live performances.
Overall, this album provides an optimal avenue for Hostage Calm to continue to produce politically centered, yet enjoyable music as they continue to develop as both musicians and people. Although the album isn’t set to formally be released until the 15th of September, I’m already excited to see what else Hostage Calm has in store in the near future. Although I’m suspicious of what the title “Die on Stage” really means for the future of the band, I’m confident they will continue to gain popularity.