(Battleground Records, 2014)
FOR FANS OF: Metalcore/Groove, Caliban, Pantera
The debut offering from Arizona’s Groove-influenced Metalcore band carries on a fine tradition of really bringing the intensity and violence that comes from the modern metal scene. Loaded with tight Groove Metal riffs that really bounce along with pit-ready rhythms and tight patterns filled with the kind of energy that’s made for bashing into your neighbor in the middle of a furious slam-dance battle, this really settles off the influences of these bands quite readily and easily with this really making for a rather intense affair. Pounding along with a tight drumming display that really gets the groove mastered while displaying a rather dexterous affair of double-bass blasts that really adds a lot of intensity to the music, it really furthers the aggressive vibe of the material here. Armed with a steady stream of Metalcore that brings in some minor technicality to the fray without really settling into any kind of showcase wankery at all and tending to use it more to display tight rhythm shifts or pattern variations more than anything else, there’s enough variety here to off-set the angry vibe this carries. Still, the structure of the album does this some harm with it being set so all the best tracks are in the first half with the second half being filled with overlong epics drenched in atmospherics and sprawling tempos against the tighter, more vicious offerings on the first half that really settles in quite well from the onset by being that tight, intense band here. ‘Drink’ sets things off immediately with its blasting drumming, steady grooves and vicious Metalcore rhythms that keep the material charging forth throughout, giving this a rather impressive offering. ‘Black Eye’ follows suit with more breakdowns present but continuous laying down aggressive grooves and more mid-tempo leanings, while ‘Katheter’ displays more of the riffing and variations that made ‘Drink’ so enjoyable. ‘Poor-Man’ continues with the more aggressive and intense approach with some tight grooves and a dynamic second half loaded with more Metalcore rhythms, making this another strong highlight offering. The instrumental ‘Melody’ delivers exactly what is promised, a melodic turn at this style still loaded with grooves and a rather up-tempo vibe that’s quite appealing for a mid-album breather track. The album’s best track, ‘Gods Shall Perish’ weaves the most infectious groove riff on the album into a fiery, up-tempo number with dynamic drumming, tight patterns and boundless energy, really scoring well with this one overall. The overlong ‘Matter of Honor’ is a huge misstep track as there’s very few ways to make an epic-paced song like this without being dragging and boring, which this unfortunately is. ‘Time to Think’ gets things back on track somewhat with more energy and a better sense of pacing with more furious riff-work, but just seems a little underwhelming compared to the tighter, more vicious offerings elsewhere on here. The title track is even better at trying to meld the tight grooves into a longer epic with a little more energy and enthusiasm about it and does a nice job overall. Ending on a sour note is the industrial-tinged bloated epic ‘Sleep’ that carries on for almost ten minutes with sprawling grooves, atmospheric noises and various tempo changes that gives a band a lot of room to work those styles into their music but overall just seems to end this on a whimper. Really, the first half to this really saves it from a lackluster and overlong second half.