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Define Strength 
Artist: Unfisted
Label: Burning Records
Length: 9 tracks + 1 bonus / 43:19

Define Strength is a thoroughly enjoyable album, especially for an artist just arriving on the hardcore scene.  My head alternated bobbing and banging throughout.

Unfisted’s bass (Jesse Bellar) alternates between giving friendly support to shredding guitars (Ernie Martinez) and providing its own driving groove. They’ve got two vocal themes scrambling through the tracks and weaving around each other like DNA—one gravelly punk (Micah Bellar) and one P.O.D.-style screamer (again Bellar). Drums (Eric Martinez) are solid but too low in the mix to make a memorable contribution, especially for a band with some progressive aspirations.

Several songs, especially the opening title-track and “Embrace,” reminded me of a less complicated version of Traindodge, with their clever time signature and style changes mid-tune.  These two tracks highlight Define Strength along with the apparently Stavesacre-influenced emo-metal groover “Sometimes I Wish.”

Sometimes I wish more bands rocked as hard as Unfisted.  They are rising stars in neo-hardcore-prog-metal or whatever label you want to try to put on this most excellent band.

Dan Singleton 12/18/01



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