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Review: Ganbaru – Declaration

Ganbaru is a 5-piece hardcore band from Australia. Declaration is their 3rd release and consists of 13 tracks. Declaration was mixed by Cameron Webb (Megadeth, Motorhead, Pennywise) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Rancid, Metallica), so there are high expectations.Without giving too much away, I will just say Declaration is fun. Head over to Ganbaru’s Facebook, website, and Spotify!

All of the songs are pretty short, never going past 3 minutes and not overstaying their welcome. A lot of the songs sound similar with minor changes in them to differentiate. The bass is the main thing that varies and adds flavor. “Declaration” starts the album off right. It has Ganbaru’s own sound and popular traits found in hardcore music mixed into one. While this isn’t the heaviest song on here, it certainly carries the energy and excitement Ganbaru has for making music. It’s only 1:40 long and all that really has to be shouted was that this song is their declaration. There are melodic notes ringing out over eased drumming and a suitable bassline.

“Ambivalence” is when we get the full Ganbaru sound without them holding back like they did on “Declaration.” Major chords and constant snare hits project a happy undertone, despite whatever lyrics are being shouted. Adam Thomas (vocals) could be talking about sewing entrails onto a lampshade and the song still sounds peppy. That’s the kind of energy and excitement I’m talking about here.

Some variation is added on “Be the Change” because of how much more involved the bass is compared to the other songs. A bassline starts the song and stays somewhat prominent throughout the entirety. The drums change up a bit more here by using a tom groove and different cymbals at a certain point. The main riffs here is fun and simple. Well every song here is simple and fun, but I like this one a bit more.

“Bleeding Hearts” is one of my favorites because it stands out a bit more and isn’t as cut and dry as some of the other songs. There is a touch of dissonance in the beginning, a better developed riff, and and a different drum beat than the usual hardcore groove. There is more rhythm in the drumming and guitar riffs. It is a nice break from before and properly sets you up for more of the upbeat happenings, This song, “Reach Out”, and “Determination Calls” contain more interesting riffs, but “Determination Calls” has the hardcore groove going on the whole time. “Reach Out” definitely channels a different sound than the rest by chord progressions, drum fills, and bridge. This song has a more alternative rock sound than hardcore, but it’s still a decent song.

“Onward/Upward” starts off as usual and doesn’t change much until the end. The end reminds of Rise Against by the guitar tone, chords being played, and group shouts. This song sounds like “Promises Made” except the drum fills and song progression is different.

The next few songs have cool riffs that let you breathe a little easier from before. If the song starts off cool, it usually stays cool with Ganbaru. I noticed that they stick to a formula of a certain sound for their choruses, and that works for a lot of bands. “Asylum” has a fast riff that suggests constant movement and the vocals change about half way through the song to a lower range. During that time, the song is taken down a level or two. The verses on“One World” spend some time building up to the chorus that actually includes individual notes played over chords rather than just a chord progression. “Turning Points” sounded unique because one of the riffs uses an effect pedal and uses high screeching notes.

I’m not too sure how to feel about Declaration. I wasn’t blown away, but I wasn’t disappointed either. It wasn’t overly unique or generic and that quality alone is interesting. I definitely think a lot of people would like Ganbaru because they don’t over analyze music like I do.

My Rate: 6.3/10

Average listener Rate: ~7.1/10

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