Being in a hardcore band for 25 years can make it pretty darn tough when …
Brisbane local post hardcore/pop punk legends We Set Signals have made their triumphant return with their latest record Ordo, a concept album about a normal guy who predicts the end of the world; an oddly relatable concept for a 2020 release.
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From start to finish, Ordo is an energetic and engaging post-hardcore record. Tracks like opener Give Me A Sign as well as Where Were You and I Wish I Wasn’t Right take a modern Bring Me The Horizon approach to the band’s sound, with synths and poppy choruses hiding a much heavier undercurrent of hardcore instrumentation. That being said, the rest of the album isn’t afraid to be heavy, with much of Ordo screaming into the scene like an album straight out of the mid-2000’s.
Singer Nick Wilkinson’s catchy, pop punk vocals throughout the album are a big plus and a vital part of the band’s signature sound, but underneath his more upbeat singing are some slamming, hardcore instrumentals; with many a head-banging track across the album. Just Say Yes has an almost dad-rock sound to its instrumentals, with the band bringing a solid old-school rock underlying foundation to their fundamentally post hardcore sound. Despite the pop punk side of things, there are more than a few tracks on Ordo that go fucking hard. Wilkinson’s screams throughout the album are just as much of a high point as his clean singing, blowing their ear worm choruses out of the water with some pounding breakdowns across the album.
The whole album is built off catchy choruses and fast riffs, making for an easy record to jump around to.
The heavy side of We Set Signals is most notable on the album’s heaviest track War Never Changes, which sees the band strongly channelling their basement-hardcore roots into a devastating breakdown set to the sounds of air raid sirens, drawing listeners back into the record’s underlying story. If you’re not paying too close attention, it’s easy to forget that Ordo is a concept album, with this recurring post-apocalyptic storyline only noticeable when paying close attention; with the exception of the penultimate track We’ll Watch The World End being a dead giveaway. Whether you’re following that story or not doesn’t attract from the appeal of the album one bit.
The whole album is built off catchy choruses and fast riffs, making for an easy record to jump around to. One of the highlights off the album is the rocking yet undeniably post-hardcore Meet Me At Starlight Drive In, a tongue-in-cheek rejection of the Billboard Top 40 from a band that have found their footing firmly in the alternative scene (with the added bonus of guest vocals from Alex Pasibe of Osatia, sounding like a fresh-faced Kellin Quinn). As you get to Terminus, you almost forget the band were ever not heavy on the album, then, just in time to prove you wrong, they take a sharp left turn into the mellow, synth-ridden We’ll Watch The World End. On the whole, the album jumps effortlessly between the more radio-friendly, rocking hooks and the heavier hardcore riffs and screams; making for an easy listen that doesn’t lose the band’s hardcore cred.
Tracks like the final song Aurora combine all the elements that make a strong We Set Signals song into one: with catchy clean vocals, fast and melodic guitar work and thrashing unclean vocals perfectly mixed together. Benefiting from tracks that are short and effective with no filler, Ordo is a wall-to-wall high-energy hardcore record and an enjoyable listen to end. A classic post-hardcore record in the vein of bands like A Day To Remember in their early days, the brissy boys have done Australia proud with Ordo. While they have a US label in We Are Triumphant behind them, they’ve still got the passion and drive of any good hardcore act, and Ordo is nothing short of the boys’ best work to date.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Give Me A Sign, Meet Me At Starlight Drive In, I Wish I Wasn’t Right, War Never Changes, We’ll Watch The World End
STICK THIS NEXT TO: A Day To Remember, Bring Me The Horizon, We Came As Romans