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The Note (Equal Vision)

When inserted into the right kind of CD player, Bane's The Note will make the readout say "Bane JAM." But by the time it comes up, you'll have figured that out already. The Boston hardcore quintet formed in 1994 as a side project of former Converge members Aaron Dalbec and Damon Bellorado (both since departed). Both bands aggressively plumb emotional depths, but where Converge is given to thrashing fits, Bane gracefully swims in the darkness.

Even in subtle moments -- "Pot Committed" features a piano interlude -- Bane still writes every song for a scream-along-to-insanity-and-back live show, but it steadfastly refuses to play formulaic modern hardcore. While the lack of constant breakdowns and murky intros may disappoint the hoodie crowd, old-school fans won't be able to resist comparing frontman Aaron Bedard's blood-vessel-popping delivery to that of original Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph. Rejecting dogma and railing against wasted youthful idealism, Bedard writes the way Ian MacKaye used to. And though Bane doesn't exactly sound like Minor Threat, nothing from this era comes closer.

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