No Bragging Rights – “The Concrete Flower” Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Listen to a track from The Concrete Flower while you listen!

Listen to a track from The Concrete Flower while you listen!

“LETS SING” is chanted and screamed in a rage of urgency as No Bragging Rights kick off their new album. The Concrete Flower begins with a song of desperation, but instead of getting down on themselves, vocalist Mike Perez is begging listeners to join him in singing songs about hope. This first track ‘Strength Through Struggle’ is as shocking as it is carnal, and that is just the first two minutes and 35 seconds.

This type of melodic hardcore has been done before. The band worked with Wil Putney (Stray From The Path) to achieve this incredibly heavy yet melodic tone for this album. Even with bands like HundredthCounterparts and Heart In Hand already discovering this genre, it never takes away from the emotional aspect of the music. Title-track is the epitome of melodic hardcore, with clean vocals breaking through the threshold of harsher screams, all being pushed forward with large sounding guitar chords mixed in with albeit cheesy breakdowns. None of this takes away from a listener wanting to shout along to the chorus. ‘Outdated’ takes the formula a little farther with an all out singable chorus about depression and its repercussions. 

‘Right Minded’ is where the band attempt their heavier approach to melodic music, bringing a bit more ferocity in their drum and vocal approach. The middle portion of the song is any mosh pit’s dream, building up to a part only written for a live show, however polarizing it is. As the album continues on, the songs continue their presence of clean vocals splitting the mix with harsh screams. This to me is a small turn off, but as the back half of the album approaches, ‘Attention’ is a song that sticks out. It’s heavy without being cheesy, the cleans are barren and the final “I’ll Die In Silence” leaves a sting in the listener’s ear. 

‘Brave Hearts’ is notable for the guest vocals of Daniel from Gideon. He brings a rougher edge to the song with his deeper approach to screaming. ‘Downhearted’ is another track written for the pit. As the album comes to a close, ‘Damage/Recover’ plays with very dark sounding guitar chords. The reason I love this closing track is the lack of cheesy breakdowns, which is standard melodic hardcore. It is visceral and progresses into the destructive movements without losing creativity. There is no slowdown drum pound buildup, instead a transition with Perez crying out “I am not a martyr.’ The song pounds to an end and the thirty minutes of No Bragging Rights is over. 

The Concrete Flower is an awesome release. There are tracks that are not doing much for me, but I am not as fond of the clean vocals as others might be. There are songs on this record that are devastating and destructive, songs I would not picture No Bragging Rights pulling off so incredibly. The first two tracks and the ending track in particular are fantastic additions to their catalogue. For melodic metalcore, this is a release to be reckoned with.

– Sean