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DISSECTION: A Look at On the Cinder's New Album, ‘Heavy-Handed’

Updated: 7 days ago

(EDITOR’S NOTE — On The Cinder will release its third full-length LP tomorrow — Tuesday, May 7 — titled ‘Heavy-Handed.’ The 11-song self-produced album will be available on streaming platforms and vinyl. You can purchase it HERE. The first pressing of 500 records is split evenly in different color variations including opaques red, blue, violet, translucent green and clear.)



There’s something reassuring knowing that no matter what’s happening across the musical landscape, hardcore Buffalo punk band On The Cinder is always out there, working its ass off as it has been for more than a decade, crossing the country and Canada to play shows in every nook and cranny of North America, relying on absolutely no one but themselves and building on a legacy of DIY ethos from which all young bands could learn.

 

Though we’re barely five months into 2024, OTC — comprised of Jason Wright (guitar/vocals), Mike Jacobs (bass/vocals) and Tyler Rzemek (drums) — has already hit New England, the Midwest, Queens, western and central New York, and numerous cities throughout Canada, released three singles and a handful of videos, two of which appear at the bottom of this page.

 

Now, tomorrow, the band will drop ‘Heavy-Handed,’ its third-full length LP. We’ve listened and it’s a banger: Thick, fast, heavy and lyrically deep.


“The reason we exist

To seek our own communion

In random circumstance

No one is made for each other


You’re what’s wrong with me and I’m what’s wrong with you

All I know is I need you more than everything”

— Coping (from ‘Heavy-Handed’)


“’Heavy-Handed’ is definitely a widen-the-spectrum-of-what-our-band-can-do sort of album,” OTC told 1120 Press recently. “This album has material that is our heaviest music with big riffs, though also has our lightest, most-melodic, and vulnerable music and lyrics yet.

 

“A major theme of the record is ‘home,’ and the change in your relationship to where you are from as you grow up. Embracing the comfort and security in exchange for monotony and loss. We are really meticulous with our writing and each album endcaps a time in our lives that we've reflected on and were inspired by, for better or for worse.”


“I knew that it'd get harder as I got older.

The sun is coming up now and I start to wonder

Where my time went

An empty house calls out in anger then yawns itself to sleep.

My friends are so distant now.

It's hard to remember when we would get drunk just to stay up late


Now the world is screaming so loud

I can barely hear myself lie about how good it's beenI just tell them I'm doing alright

Everyone always says they're doing just fine

Everyone's doing just fine”

— Bravest New Face (from ‘Heavy-Handed’)


Though the spectrum may be widened on ‘Heavy-Handed,’ the album is vintage On The

Cinder. The songs are anthemic and melodic, but their structures are intricate and complex. Multiple changes in pace within each song command attention. Vocals are traded with urgency throughout, in true On The Cinder fashion, against a backdrop of thunderous drumming, crawling bass lines and sonic riffs.

 

Formed in 2013 at the University of Buffalo, On the Cinder’s lineup has never changed. The band lived together at the Flower House on Flower Street where they would throw shows, performing for the first time 11 years ago in March.

 

Since then, they have logged thousands of miles together on the road and played countless shows. They’ve gone on to write and record three albums, as well as an EP, start their own record label — Flower House Records — host and promote local shows, open for bands such as The Menzingers, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Belvedere and A Wilhelm Scream among others, and play festivals including the Vans Warped Tour, Camp Punksylvania and the Midwest Punk Festival.


“Kicked out, shut in, closed up and left behind 

One cell is all it takes to spread the cancer

Divides until there’s no truth in any answer

Carve out what makes you sick


It takes a village to raise a stage But a single rat can start the plague

Carve out what makes you sick"

— Board Up the Arcade (from ‘Heavy-Handed)


On The Cinder’s music exudes both conflict and invincibility. Strife is countered by unity, pessimism offset by hope. Whenever we listen to an OTC song, we always get the sense that no matter how shitty things seem, the ability to overcome is forever within reach.


Maybe that comes from resilience, the byproduct of a band that has been together for more than a decade and has plowed through every challenge that’s come its way.

 

On ‘Heavy-Handed,’ that resilience and invincibility is present once again as On The Cinder, with its trademark blue-collar work ethic, continues to build upon an impressive punk legacy first planted on Buffalo’s Flower Street all those years ago.




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