The irony regarding the title of Biohazard’s new record shouldn’t be lost on anyone.
Their first studio effort in seven years, it was seemingly intended to suggest that despite numerous dramas surrounding the band, a passion for music had galvanised the original members to reconvene and succeed in spite of it all. The curious twist is that following the completion of Reborn in Defiance, the man most identifiable (at least publicly) with Biohazard, lead vocalist/bassist Evan Seinfeld has opted to boff more porn stars and jam with other bands instead.
So while you can’t visit Blabbermouth lately without encountering yet another interview featuring the remaining members discussing Seinfeld’s departure, this record caps off their career’s reunion phase. There’s a tangible, bristling energy and vigour akin to State of the World Address, the last record this incarnation released 18 years ago and probably their most commercially successful effort. While unlikely to strike such riches this time around, the band who was essentially metalcore before the term became so widely accepted offer plenty for the long-term fan. What a new generation of heavy music devotees reared on deathcore and emo will make of it is less clear, but the album emanates a sensibility of doing it for the right reasons, rather than for the cash.
While not really innovators anymore, Biohazard sound re-energized even if at 55 minutes Reborn… doesn’t so much as outstay its welcome as sleep on your couch for a few days. There are other elements in play, but their foundations are hard-as-nails New York hardcore, some of the more clichéd lyrics included. Opening track proper “Vengeance is Mine” comes out swinging and does as much damage in three-and-a-half minutes as a UFC competitor. Gang chants and metallic groove are the order of the day. The hip-hop influences of “Countdown Doom” and “Waste Away” are far less contrived and cack-handed than some of their late 90s/early 00s efforts too. “Reborn” fuses rollicking hardcore/punk with pseudo-clean vocals and genuinely thoughtful guitar lines, and “You Were Wrong” and “Vows of Redemption” take things even further in the melodic and reflective direction, the latter fusing slide guitar and piano with rapping. “Killing Me” is the most anthemic and radio-friendly they’ve been in eons.
It’s fitting that long-time fans were given a final salute. Who knows about the next chapter though?
2. Vengeance Is Mine
5. Killing Me
6. Countdown Doom
7. Come Alive
8. Vows Of Redemption
9. Waste Away
10. You Were Wrong
12. Never Give In
13. Season The Sky