If the impending Bleeding Through comeback record represents the logical conclusion of the metalcore revival, then Era perhaps represents its pinnacle. Bleed From Within struggled to raise their heads above the pack during the genre’s heyday. 2018, however, sees them return with not only an A-grade record, but one which…
Trivium are a band in a unique position. They exploded onto the scene very early on, accruing a lot of fans and haters simultaneously. After putting out an album that helped define a generation, they stepped back from the spotlight a bit, but their most interesting material actually came out…
The conversation surrounding Trivium is a pretty loaded one. A band that instantly rose to fame at a young age with music defined by talent and broad appeal is bound to attract some ire. Every subsequent album they’ve put out has changed their sound to some extent, and sometimes those changes were controversial among fans and the general audience alike. How does a band react to this? By just doing what they want. Trivium have soldiered on, releasing albums and touring consistently, and they have always found an audience. Yet, since 2008’s masterpiece Shogun, it felt like nothing they did really compared. Enter The Sin and the Sentence. This album isn’t Shogun 2.0, but it’s its own beast, and it signals a new paradigm for the band. After nearly a decade of musical soul searching by the band, it finally feels like they’ve reached a point of equilibrium, a new sound that fully utilizes their diverse sets of talents. Finally, the band’s potential is fully realized again.
It can’t be easy being August Burns Red. They’ve been around for 14 years, they’ve seen the rise and fall of metalcore. They were one of the most prominent figures in bringing it to a wider audience. They’ve had many opportunities to define themselves, and many have solidified their own personal feelings about them. Does a band in this position seek to change anyone’s minds? Do they just stay the course? Should they even be criticized for doing so? Trying to analyze these trains of thought as a critic can lead one down several rabbit holes. But perhaps one should consider the perspective of the band. They’re on their 7th entry, they have nothing more left to prove, so they can make whatever they feel like. And Phantom Anthem definitely feels like that. A quality band comfortable in their shoes, making the music they want to make.
Lifelink comes to us courtesy of Philadelphia record label, Innerstrength, having honed their particular take on metallic hardcore on their second release, Love Lost. The EP heavily features the guitar talents of Josh Brown and Kamran Oskouie, some might even say it relies on them. The track we’re premiering here, “Lost”, shows roots similar to those of Architects, Volumes, and Novelists, with some nicely worked exchanges from Brown and Oskouie as they switch from mid-tempo moshes to trading off leads amidst Dillinger-esque chords. Meanwhile vocalist, Luke Blanchard, stays firmly in the pocket between a growl and a yell which might belie the range he has developed since the band’s last release, Nothing, that came out in 2015.
Sydney’s Polaris have quickly become one of Australian’s most promising acts. The melodic metalcore crew certainly aren’t reinventing any wheels, but the sheer vigour and precision songwriting they bring to those templates previously laid down by the likes of Architects and Periphery render them entirely refreshing nonetheless. The band have just announced their debut, full-length album, The Mortal Coil, which is set to be released in November, and if the two singles they’ve release off the album so far are anything to go by, it’s going to be an absolute rager.
It’s hard to believe that there was a time before the steady stream of blasé lyric videos, but at the turn of the millennium, music video purveyor MTV had to “bring back” the music video. The artform was essentially replaced by trashy reality television and cartoons by the late 90s, but eventually came MTV2 – a quality sequel (well, for a few years) nobody really deserved. So I guess it only made sense that they also resurrected their metalhead favorite from the 80s and 90s soon thereafter – Headbangers Ball. After all, this era had a ton to offer. The NWOAHM movement was all the rage, metalcore was hitting its stride, and melodeath was pretty much the coolest shit ever. Given that the combo of Kazaa and my dial-up setup wasn’t doing me any good – true story: I waited days (plural) to download Meshuggah’s Chaosphere only to find out that some jerk just relabeled of Neurotica tracks (some truly evil bastards out there), this couldn’t have been better timing for a dude who had recently gotten his license and began to fall in love with hanging out at the record store – the internet, for me, sucked for digging up new tunes.
Metal is a deeply saturated genre of music. The overwhelming glut of new albums that cross one’s path on a regular basis make it nearly impossible to absorb all of the new music being released. You can listen to hundreds of metal albums in a year and still kick yourself in the teeth for missing nearly every album on most metal publications’ year-end lists. Given this current state of affairs, it is not at all difficult to miss out on some really great music. Which is a shame, as well as the only logical explanation I have for why Swiss progressive metalcore aficionados Scars Divide aren’t absolutely annihilating the metal world right now.
In the spirit of Rick James, nostalgia is a helluva drug. Each of us has our poison. Movies from our childhood, specific foods, sights or smells that bring us back to a different, seemingly simpler time. Even our politics can (unfortunately) be influenced by our individual or collective sense of nostalgia. But this piece isn’t about that. Mainly, it’s about metalcore. Of all musical stylings, there is perhaps none that bring me back to my formative years of musical development more than this sub-genre. Though I do not find myself listening to metalcore very frequently in my current album rotation, I will occasionally stumble upon an album, single, or EP that scratches that nostalgia itch. Mirrors’ debut EP Fools Paradise does just that.
The onslaught of the new wave of progressive metal continues. Enter Oni, a Canadian band who are surfing right along that wave. Their debut, Ironshore is just a solid assault of groovy modern prog (not to be confused with djent) that surprises in a plethora of ways. Occupying a space similar to bands like Textures, Persefone and Alustrium, this album should be a bar for up and coming bands to be measured against.