The last time we heard from Million Dead they were busy trying to be England's answer to legendary politico-punks Refused and, while not succeeding (how could they?), their debut album A Song To Ruin was certainly sailing in the more intelligent waters of modern hardcore.
Eighteen months on, with a new guitarist in tow, and things seem to have changed. The quirky lyricism is still very much in evidence ("I'm scared of the kids that come to our shows / I'm scared of the words that they seem to know "), but musically there is a whole different undercurrent. The verses are surprisingly restrained with Frank Turner properly singing over a meandering guitar line, before the drums go ape and the hardcore screams return for the chorus.
Except instead of upping the intensity the song then veers back to indie-ness and never quite returns to an all-out assault. Is this new sound a good thing? Not sure. The emphasis on melody is welcome and the passion is evident but things get a little too emo for anyone's good at certain moments. It seems that the new album, Harmony No Harmony, will be anything but predictable.