It’s been a little over two years since 430 STEPS released their last full-length album, Citizen of Nothing. Having been released shortly before COVID 19, their touring plans and all the momentum they had gained over the last few years in the Florida Music Scene seemed to come to a screeching halt. With the world on lockdown and the nonexistence of live music in effect, this band hit their music studio pretty damn hard. And after a few months of playing shows and reclaiming their place in The Florida Hardcore Scene, 430 is back with their latest full-length effort, LIGHTS OUT!
The first track off the album titled FIRST PUNCH is exactly that. A punch in the face. They come out swinging with a fast guitar riff and Nelson’s gritty vocals behind it, before the rest of the band pile on and really do some damage. Slam parts, dance parts, heavy riffs, sick bass lines. It’s all there. Great way to start an album. Up next is RESISTANCE. Another heavy hitter with tons of groove that will get you moving.
You can even start hearing a bit of sampling that adds another layer of depth without overdoing it. It’s another great track from these Latino punks who started this band in South America (under a different name)
The third track, FIGHT ‘EM BACK, has a very cool intro with a movie sample from the 1976 film NETWORK, that describes a crumbling society before launching you into complete circle pit chaos. With tons of groove, heavy guitars and angry vocals, this song proves to be another standout track on this album. And then track four comes.
WE BELONG TO HELL quickly became my favorite song on this album. With an added touch of metal, and Nelson’s vocal dynamic, this track hits you hard. Then it hits you with a nice guitar solo before slowly fading into children chanting lyrics to the song, giving you some melody and creepiness at the same time. The band even grabbed their kids and some friends kids before hitting the studio on this one.
Up next, HOW WE LIVE, proves itself to be yet another standout track from this release. With some elements of sampling, this song is probably the most melodic track on the album. After a few of those melodic choruses, they hit us with a good heavy breakdown to level things out. Then comes, COLD DAYS. Another fast track that shows everyone that they have not slowed down one bit, and don’t plan on it, neither. This song mixes fast punk with melody and ends in a Turnstile manner with hums and other glorious sounds.
After throwing six bangers at us, FAKE REALITY comes next. More fast punk, bass thumps and heavy guitars jump back at you after a short Turnstilesque synthesizer intro. A super catchy chorus with heavily compressed vocals added a nice layer of experimentation, yet maintaining total heaviness, complete with a breakdown, gang vocals and mosh parts as well.
So then, another wall of sound, called TOXIC WALL comes around the corner and turns this place into a huge circle pit with another sick breakdown as well. Man, these guys have really decided to take things to new heights with their sound on this record. After a brief “dance style” introduction, the title track, LIGHTS OUT, is next up to bat. And I found that song to be a winner-winner chicken dinner too! Fast riffs and Nelson’s low-end screams are what keeps this song going. And although this album sounds much more heavily produced than their previous work, it adds enough depth and dimension without sounding overproduced.
Another example of this is the next song, SELFISH SATISFACTION that starts out with a cello introduction before launching into fast punk rock song. But I do have to admit that when I first saw the video for the next song, INFECTED, I was a little bit nervous that the band was going to get “too commercial” with this new release, but the song quickly grew on me, and the album still maintains that old 430 heaviness. Drums and bass introduce the final track, INVISIBLE ENEMY, which proved to be a good close to the record.
Overall, this release gets an A. Without going overkill on the effects, they still go overkill on the energy in typical 430 fashion. Hopefully, these Sur Americano punk rockers will get back on tour and pick up where they left off before COVID derailed the entire world. Until then, enjoy this release.