Taken - Between Two Unseens - Goodfellow Records 2005
5 Songs + DVD
Running Time: 23:45
Eight years old as of 2005, Orange County, CA's Taken were there before the recent hardcore uprising, which finds media darlings such as Atreyu claiming legitimacy uncontested by fans who (even at the median age of fourteen) should know better. With any luck, they would've been around long after, as well. Such was not to be the case, though, so what we have in Between Two Unseens is a last will and testament to one of modern-day hardcore's unknown forebearers.
And what a farewell it is, even from the start. The perfect mix of hardcore fury and melodic fluidity adhere to the same high standards as Taken's previous Goodfellow effort - and my first exposure to the band - And They Slept in 'Arrested Impulse'. Take the stop-on-a-dime breakdowns of early Diecast, the ear for hooks of Shai Hulud, and the cinematic quality of the vastly underrated transmission0, and you have some sort of an idea of the brilliance at work here. Seamlessly, Taken move from the jagged delivery of the majority of 'The Duke' into the wash and near-shoegazeresque hue of 'Treaded Paths'...that is until around the two-minute mark, where the band slice and dice the melody into shards of glass, then blast them back to your ears, ala Botch. Masters of continuity even in this abbreviated epilogue, each song has something for anyone remotely into hardcore as done since the late 90s to latch onto. The shimmer of 'Eternity Was On Our Lips' bursts into the mountainous riffwork in the finale of...'Eternity Was On Our Lips', if you get my meaning. It's in 'Swirling Memories' where the heart of the band is punctured and poured out for the last time in the recorded medium, lyrically evoking images of turning pages of a photo album, and recalling every second of what got you to this point. It's honesty at its most stark, and a validation of life at its most powerful. The song (and the EP) end with what could be the sound of a gull flying over your head and out to sea, but in your heart you know it's just a band saying goodbye. Far from a band of emo-shackled eyeliner slaves, Taken (and Goodfellow) have seen fit to include a bonus DVD of Taken's final live performance, recorded with amazingly clear sound at Chain Reaction in July of last year. Along with this show, we get interviews, remembered hilarity from the likes of Curl Up And Die, and older live footage as well.
Though Taken never got Warped Tour exposure, and never really lived the rockstar life, it never seemed to matter. They were about the music, and about the passion of hardcore, and the change it could bring not only socially, but inwardly as well. And for that, to them, I say a heartfelt thank you. If ever a band in the hardcore realm could be described as "epic"...it's Taken.