Back at the end of 2013, Combative Post released The Ghost. It is one of my favorite hardcore albums. Now seven years later, the band has released WHITEOUT. With so much time between albums, it was possible that the band would lose some of its power, lost some of the shine that made The Ghost so good, and it was just a return as a project album. All of that was dispelled from “Whiteout,” the first song on the album.
The band, consisting of the same four members, have returned and essentially just taken another step into the hall of fame of punk and hardcore and Korean music as a whole. I will say, WHITEOUT is different from The Ghost. The Ghost is the result of a high level of polish and deliberate steps to highlight every musical accent. WHITEOUT is a giant explosion of anger and frustration that’s built up and is being presented to the audience. The recording is almost loaded backwards with the vocals sitting behind the instrumentals with the guitars next, and the bass and drums taking the more forward point in the mix.
That doesn’t weaken any of the songs, but I wish the vocals were a little more audible. Kyuyoung Hwang does an amazing job to deliver deep and poetic lyrics written by drummer Zinman Cho and the rest of the band. Even though hardcore is the foundation, the English lyrics provide a very visceral mental image. Iiwoo Lee takes songwriting credit and you can hear tiny elements of his other band, Jambinai, come forth. But this is not a Jambinai 1.5 or 2.0, this is Combative Post.
There was a unity of audio on The Ghost that’s really not found on WHITEOUT. Every song has its own tempo, style, and flavor within the band’s overall library. Even “Whiteout” versus “Against The Odds” carries similar arrangement, but it feel like it’s a different section of the album’s message. Jehak Yeon‘s bass playing needs to be highlighted as well. Instead of simply following along with the song, it’s used as a foundation and accent to the heaviest parts of songs. The bass is present and makes you aware of it.
Guest vocals from Chris of NOEAZY and Hee from Turn For Our are great additions because they each add a different element to the songs they feature on. It might be a quick verse or two, but changes the tone and weight. “Hell…It’s Chosen” does a great job integrating Chris’ growl right before the intense bridge.
Getting to WHITEOUT’s message, if you don’t know hardcore music, this might sound like it’s all about aggressiveness and negative anger, but WHITEOUT speaks a lot to societal issues that affect the world.
Your word are worthless with twisted minds.
You’re always worrying, your worthless status.
You just blame the weak, You know it’s savage.
What’s gonna be changed? Shame on yourself!
Go away, you haters.
Go away, you racists.
Go away, you fascists.
Go away, you scumbags.“Hate Speech” – Combative Post
When you listen to Combative Post, it’s easy appreciate the music because these are seasoned musicians. But the English lyrics really give you an insight into the band that would difficult to see and hear otherwise. Definitely listen to the album with the lyrics at least once and you will come away in awe that the band produces music this powerful.
Combative Post’s WHITEOUT is another timely, yet timeless album. It’s the return of an amazing hardcore band and also a highlight of punk and hardcore. Over the 10 songs and 25 minutes, Combative Post have set a high standard for a second album, even after seven years.