The Used – The Canyon


The Used - The Canyon (Hopeless Records) 2017


The Used are one of those legendary acts which slip in between the lines of screams and heartbreak. The band from Utah, have overcome the strains of poverty and substance abuse, brandishing their music like a live circuit, a wire potent enough to burn through all the bullshit. Since their start in 2002, the outfit have released infectious sounds, which could be perceived to be clawing at the mainstream, but not cascading fully into bubble gum laced territory.

Bert McCracken is the enigmatic front man, who has gone through despair beyond words, his eyes have seen death, his body scarred to the touch. He’s absorbed enough inspiration to create music of revolutionary heights, he’s surfaced from the depths of hell holding a microphone, screaming through it, dancing with it. With the pain still imprinted, the outlook does seem brighter. Although life has been a struggle blemished through and through with hardships, The Used have utilised their gifts, they’ve buried enough of those tarnished notes written in blood, they’ve bludgeoned the walls to get to that other side, a place where it’s vital and worthy.

The Canyon is a new step. A record of poignancy and angst. And the band throw down guitars fit for a black laced ball. Their eyes are on the prize here, their duty is to surprise, and they do so on an album full bloodied and drawn from minds corroded with questions. “Vertigo Cave” holds on to a style which has been perfected, but hasn’t grown stale. The song nibbles at the rock genre, but post-hard-core is still a chosen venture. “Upper Falls” is more refrained, McCracken’s voice is on point, the instrumentals pushing at the heart of tension. The words spat out are dark. “The Quiet War” begins with a drumbeat, complementing the vocals well. The lyrics describe politics and strained war. The song offers the disenfranchised a letter of purpose.

The Used have driven home with The Canyon. It’s an effort which conveys a sense of longing, but we expect that from a band of darkened warriors.

Words: Mark McConville
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