Once again we find ourselves in my pleasure chamber. That deep, dark place that deeply loves some good old fashioned metallic hardcore. Sure, I may have cut my (nonexistent) metal cred on death metal, but this is the stuff that got me into the genre as a teen. It’s in my veins, and by god do I love it when it’s good. We’ve got some good stuff for you today. So enter the pit of my soul and revel in the goodness that is the self-titled release from Bailer, Ireland’s own metalcore-infused sound machine. Thankfully, the band has a great deal more to offer than a simple guilty pleasure kick. This release includes quality songs that boil and burst with kinetic energy and righteous anger, and any fan of metallic hardcore should pay heed to the sound this group is peddling.
One of the first noticeable aspects of this release is the production, designed here by Murdock’s Aidan Cunningham. Good grief is this thing heavy. The guitars are fierce and sharp, the bass prominent and noticeable in the mix (something that metal of all shades struggles with in general), and the drums absolutely thunderous. Alex O’Leary’s vocals are as fierce and controlled as they come, never feeling erratic or random. There is a deeply measured approach to the violence on Bailer, which gives the proceedings a much more mature kick than one gets from this type of music. Opening track “Death Is A Reminder” is a sensational shot across the bow that gives listeners a stirring introduction to the delights this album contains. The moderated chugs and distinct heaviness of the opening moments eventually unfolds into an absolutely ferocious finale that is as good as you will hear in this type of music. Taking the swagger of Every Time I Die and the intensity of Converge or Norma Jean, Bailer create a stew of metallic hardcore influences and make a sound that feels familiar yet all their own. Subsequent track “Feel It More” brings the heat with speed and energy, bleeding into “Long Gone” and the remaining tracks on the record. The performances here are excellent across the board. Chris Harte’s guitars are heavy and frenetic without feeling disjointed or random, David Cleere’s bass resonates resoundingly through every track, and Sean Conway’s drums do everything they need to do to keep the music progressing at an alarmingly intense and aggressive clip. It’s the full package of an entire band operating on a level of symbiosis that is worthy of immense celebration. This is a fantastically nasty piece of music.
If the band’s previous two EPs showed a great deal of promise for this young band, consider their follow-up this promise fulfilled. Bailer’s self-titled effort is a special hybrid of so many of the things that make this music great when done well. Bailer can most certainly be considered part of the camp of bands making metallic hardcore vital and relevant, and I cannot wait for a debut full-length. Well worth the time of any and all metallic hardcore fans. Well done, gents.