The Files You Have On Me
If I had to choose one word to best describe Waterdown’s sophomore release, The Files You Have On Me, it would be “melodious.” Perhaps not the best word considering Waterdown is a hardcore band. But with the interchanging screams of Ingo Rieser and the smoother, more commercial lungs of Marcel Bischoff, The Files You Have On Me is incredibly melodic, almost ballad-like at times. Increasingly more hardcore bands are following this path, but unlike many of them, Waterdown is missing something, causing them to sound, well, watered-down. The Files You Have On Me is thirteen tracks of typical, screamo-rock. Waterdown’s first release, Never Kill A Boy on the First Date showed great promise, with powerful and memorable songs like “Impress Me” and “Picketline.” Instead of growing with The Files You Have On Me, Waterdown stay safe, taking no risks with their music.
Waterdown’s music has never been original; they don’t do anything one of their Victory label mates hasn’t already done. They sound like a mix between Thursday, Snapcase and Boy Sets Fire, but with a cheesy-rock edge caused by Bischoff’s vocal stylings. He sounds like he is trying way too hard, almost as though he’s preaching to his listeners. His voice can get rather grating and you find yourself wishing to hear more of Rieser, whose vigorous screams are reminiscent of From Autumn to Ashes’ Ben Perri.
The Files You Have On Me is highly politically, covering such issues as war (“Bulletproof”), exile (“A Fortress”), violence (“Dodging Bullets”) and, of course, love (“Decaffeinated”). Waterdown have created a self-consciously intense album, resulting in an element of insincerity. Instead of finding their own style, Waterdown seem to have followed the Idiot’s Guide to Recording a Hardcore Album to the T. Waterdown fans won’t be disappointed by the album, but they won’t be thrilled by it either. The Files You Have On Me is simply too average, lacking in creativity and honesty.