If there’s one ace Death Remains have up their sleeve to challenge the rest of the metallic hardcore brigade, it’s their adherence to the riff. Every time you expect the jagged, bouncy tone to morph into a saccharine chorus or chunky breakdown, another thrashy bit of fretboard trickery or regal run will rear its head. Not that there’s an absence of big vocal hooks or mid-paced chug to throw yourself around to, but DR’s sparsity gives them more of an impact, such as on the infectious propulsion of Endure And Survive. Hardships sees vocalist Barry O’Connor’s urgent, PMA message over a clattering of drums and fiddly guitars, sounding like Architects on Red Bull. No Trace comes out of the blocks with tech-death precision and the impassioned closer Rebuild is backed by a flurry of notes and strings. There are, however, mixed results when they slow it down on the affecting lament of Soldier and the uninspired Futile Existence. But when it’s done right, this well-trodden style can still hit the bullseye.