Bad Omens‘ self-titled debut full-length has multiple personalities, but like your favorite on-screen psychopaths, that’s part of its dark charm. Standard but well done metalcore ragers like “Exit Wounds” and “Malice” show Bad Omens acting boisterously tough, while “F E R A L” rides a slower, nü metal rock vibe and soft tunes like “Enough, Enough Now” and “Crawl” are vulnerable and desperate. Maybe this is the mark of a band that hasn’t quite figured out their own identity yet, but in the process of trying to riddle it out they’ve come up with an impressive first record.
Detroit is still producing American made things these days. The latest export from the Motor City is a boiling maelstrom of old school hardcore for today’s problems. Turncoat is true to the ideals of the scene holding nothing back in their self titled debut EP. The need for self-respect, hard work, and honesty is thrown in your face, while the disenchantment in the delusion of the American Dream is shoved down your throat.
Rise Records new addition, Cane Hill, finally released their self-titled EP after such a long wait. Their single “Sunday School” originally came out just over a year ago, although it’s only been in the past few months that the band released two other singles, “Ox Blood” and “Time Bomb.” Yet despite the time it took for the album to be released, it’s finally in our grasp and is worth checking out.
Only a 7 track album, Cane Hill’s self-titled EP is quite refreshing. It starts off with “Ox Blood”—fast, heavy and chaotic. The riffs and guitars of “Time Bomb” have some real weight behind them, giving the listener the fuel to thrash around and break shit. The vocals have some nice range as well, for Elijah Witt varies between low-toned spoken word sections followed by a mix between mid and low pitched screaming. For most of their songs, this kind of vocal variation gives a nice dark and twisted feel, especially with the lyrical content.
It’s the following songs that demonstrate their “Nü” side. Both “Screwtape” and “Gemini” have an extreme Korn vibe and the influence is easily noticeable. It works well in their favor and it’s not overused as they still maintain their own sound. These two songs also feature clean singing which is surprising since the three singles released showed no signs that actual singing would be involved in the album. Yet the revival of these old school metal vibes is refreshing and haunting. That being said, I wish there was more of it. Only having 7 tracks is disappointing, especially since there are some real quality songs on this album including “French 75.” This song actually features all cleans and Witt even has a similar sound to Chris Motionless of Motionless In White (which could also be compared to Marilyn Manson). “French 75” also has an unspecified guest female vocalist who not only has a beautiful voice, but is the star of the song and makes it worth replaying. The album concludes with two heavier songs, “The Fat of the Land” and “Sunday School,” which are both solid tracks to get the listener pumped. Ironically, when “Sunday School” comes to a conclusion with the lyrics “It never ends,” it actually does end the album.
Although the Cane Hill EP is short in length, it doesn’t take away from the quality of each song. Whether it’s the heavy bangers (“Time Bomb,” “The Fat of the Land”) or even Korn-esque songs (“Screwtape,” “Gemini”), Cane Hill has versatility and a fresh take while dipping into the past for inspiration. The EP is filled with surprises, and while I understand they want each song to have a sense of individuality, additional songs in similar styles of what was already shown could have made this album a more fulfilling and less jarring one. Cane Hill’s self-titled EP is not for everyone, especially since it’s a bit outside of the box, yet those who enjoy Nü-metal or just dark and twisted music will appreciate this new release.
by Justin LaMot
The fourth full-length record from the Michigan group We Came As Romans hits almost all the right notes. The band’s self-titled touches on some of the major themes of life: identity crises, falling in and out of love, and the ever-changing nature of the world as a whole. Some pretty heavy stuff, but We Came As Romans have never shied from heavy topics.
Musically the album showcases a broad range of styles. There is, of course, the traditional hardcore screaming over thumping guitar riffs and pounding drum beats. But they also incorporate pop punk elements, repetitive choruses and a strong electronic tone that hums throughout the album. It’s a range that works well.
In “Flatline,” the opening verse gets crooned out with a whiny Tom Delonge-inspired voice, hitting a pop punk high note that carries throughout the album. The song “Who Will Pray” juxtaposes a deep life question (“If I fall too far, disappear in the dark/ Who will pray for me tomorrow?”) with some computer licks that could feel just as at home in an Imagine Dragons song. “Defiance” also starts with electronic strumming, seeming particularly influenced by early-2000s Linkin Park. But We Came As Romans’ use of metaphors sets them apart. In the second verse of “Defiance” they sing, “Ready to contend, ready to withstand/ Open up these walls built to keep you out/ Nothing you say can make me give up/ I’m persistent like a river cuts through a rock.”
While WCAR pepper the album with electronic beats and synthetic sounds, it never becomes too much. The self-titled’s electronic undertone helps keep a continuous theme as the songs jump from semi-ballads like “Memories” to full on hardcore affairs like “Regenerate.” It works as a unifying theme and helps make the album cohesive, even though they pull from all corners of the rock world for each song. It’s a solid album, and a great addition to We Came As Romans’ discography as a whole, but not the second coming of the rock gods.
by Maria Spiridigliozzi