It's 2019, and Periphery are untethered by third-party oversight and have complete creative freedom. One would expect, given their memey and not-so-serious aesthetic and progressive-leaning musical nature, that they must have not had much oversight from their previous label Sumerian Records to begin with; after all, much of the music that Periphery were releasing under Sumerian had a paper trail of demos from the Bulb Soundclick demo era of the band, and the output was always super consistent in terms of quality and musical direction, so it was easy to just assume that the band called their own shots.
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.