ALBUM: Hostage Calm – Die On Stage

Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Label: Run For Cover Records


Making a name for themselves in their home state of Connecticut, American punk outfit Hostage Calm have taken the punk scene by storm in recent years. Blending harmonies and distorted guitars, the band has offered up a set of great records in the shape of ‘Please Remain Calm’ and their self-titled effort. However, ‘Die On Stage’ may just be the wake up call that the band needed.

After formulating a sound that bases itself on punk rock which dabbles itself in pop harmonies and tendencies, but doesn’t quite amount to a pop-punk sound, Hostage Calm always offered the best of both worlds. So, it was no surprise to hear that immediate sound on ‘Die On Stage’. It was a surprise, however, to not enjoy it as much as expected.

The main problem with ‘Die On Stage’ is how unremarkable it is. When a band writes a great record, something is always taken from those records that you wish to return to. Unfortunately, there’s little of that here, and that’s not to say that everything here is poor, it just simply doesn’t hook you in as you would wish to.

But why? What is it that makes ‘Die On Stage’ so forgettable and unremarkable? Well, it’s like being served the same meal, three times a day, for a long period of time. You become tired of it, you’ve eaten it before, you’re done with it and you desire something new.

That’s not to say that everything on the plate isn’t enjoyable. For instance, ‘When You Know’ goes down fine and gets the blood pumping as soon as ‘A Thousand Miles From Here’ kicks in with its abrasive chord progressions. They encapsulate everything that Hostage Calm has achieved and it is admirable.

But, when you’ve heard the same formula from the band and others of the same kind, it becomes tiresome. Writing a hook and placing some harmonies in it to make a song sound delightful has been done to death. It ruins a record’s durability to know that rehashed formulas are used, especially when it’s not done well.

Though Hostage Calm may not have hit the mark as well as they may have wished, ‘Die On Stage’ could be used as a wake up call. A band of this calibre can do much better. Though there are minor gems in here, it’s a shame to find a record to fall short of what it’s clearly capable of.

Written by Calvin Robinson (@CalvParty)