With the company I keep, I’m always inundated with music suggestions from friends far and wide. Friends of all genres, trying to get me out of the grind and noise vacuum I’ve been trapped in for a few years. Unfortunately, there’s literally not enough time in the day for me to get really into shoegaze, power pop or Asgardian black metal so I need somewhere to give me all the good stuff in one place. That place is Heavy Blog Is Heavy. No! Shit! That place is Holy Roar Records! On the block today is Germany’s melodic hardcore mega upstarts Giver with Where The Cycle Breaks.
I open any news regarding Holy Roar with glee smeared all over my laptop screen. Even when the word’s melodic and hardcore are paired together in the opening sentence. Now I’m famously fussy about anything that isn’t gritty, grinding or gory but my trust in Holy Roar had me hitting play within seconds. It was the right decision as the pissy, grumpy nihilist within me was drowned out after just a few tracks; his blackened demeanor washed away with positive vibes and sincerely sick hardcore. By the time “No World To Come” strummed it’s way gently into my ears, I was sucked in. I’m now a melodic hardcore fan, I guess.
What is it about this band? Someone, please enlighten me regarding the sorcery involved in creating these raucous bursts of Red Bull-fuelled beats and swirling push pits. The main elements are all here – guitars tight as a gnat’s arsehole, glassy bass blurring the lines between rhythm instrument and countermelody, snappy percussion strokes and hundreds of gang vocals. On paper and pixel, it doesn’t sound like much. Thankfully as humans we don’t listen with our eyes, otherwise, we wouldn’t be privy to the darkened musings and melodies on “Dancing With The Devils” and “Pills”. Each track spills over with bravado and energy, making me feel lazy for sitting still while listening to them.
The sum of the energy and exuberance spilled throughout Where The Cycle Breaks is one of it’s most endearing factors. The most surprising thing about the record is how the energy is delivered. Never frantic, always frenetic, the driving forces behind the band aren’t monetary aspirations or “fame”, they’re propelled forward by unnaturally wise choices in every chorus, every riff of every track. Pluck out the raw emotion of early Converge, crack an egg of early Gallows in and season with a pinch of American Nightmare. Then throw that in the bin because it’s a terrible comparison and stick on “Heart of Dark” instead. It’ll do a much better job of convincing you of how swell the chops of these young Germans are.
I’m totally smitten with this record. It slaps. It’s fire. It’s whichever descriptor you care to use. Where The Cycle Breaks is one of maybe three records over 30 minutes long that I can sit through without flicking and shuffling. The energy and uplifting nature of Giver’s hardcore totally define the genre, for me at least. I’m okay with not knowing every single “legit” melodic hardcore band, whatever that means; I have Giver in my life and that’ll do me. Holy Roar continues to cherry pick the best of the best, yet again putting the spotlight on a young band, miles ahead of their peers. Now, gang vocal with me for a second – “HOLY ROAR!”