Denmark is home to a particular scene of hardcore-meets-sludge that contains heavy-hitters such as The Psyke Project (sadly no longer), Hexis, and LLNN. I was very pleased to discover that We Are Among Storms, featuring members from the first two bands as well as Église, had popped up with a four-track EP that neatly represents the appeal of the aforementioned scene: brooding sensibilities à la Cult of Luna are met with heightened aggression, though this EP is slightly gentler than what the likes of the Psyke Project and LLNN are often known for (a dense, suffocating heaviness).
The opening riff of “Summit” recalls one of Cult of Luna’s more urgent moments, then quickly veers into more turbulent waters before settling into an uneasy groove; the guitar work can be restrained, even delicate at times, which makes the crashing riffs hit all that much harder. From here on out, it’s apparent that EP is a graceful, introspective work whose viciousness is smartly controlled and directed inward — it doesn’t lash out or explode so much as it takes on more weight, letting us experience how it feels to carry a burden rather than have it thrown at us.
What I love about We Are Among Storms’ take on sludgy hardcore is that they inject just the right amount of restlessness into the rhythm section — it’s a middle ground between slow trudging and rapid-fire beats that suit the austere but not-too-oppressive atmosphere. Indeed, rays of light peak out in EP during its more subdued moments, even as anxiety looms (e.g. the section in “Closure” in which down-tuned, off-pitch bass rumbles menacingly under a tranquil lead).
EP is a fully-formed and nuanced release that reflects the experience of We Are Among Storms’ members. Suffice to say, any full-length record from the band will be worth looking out for; I’m really curious as to how a longer runtime will influence the development of the emotional narrative (as it’s not always easy to keep this sort of atmosphere engaging). All releases can be found here.