Hard­core heroes clean up their act

Metal Hammer (UK) - - The Gospel - LUKE MOR­TON

The singer of Norma Jean and the for­mer drum­mer of Ev­ery Time

I Die – sounds like the mak­ings of the most berserk hard­core record of the year, right?

Well, you would be wrong. With much more in com­mon with

Deftones than The Char­iot, this is a dis­tinct de­par­ture from Cory Bran­dan and Ryan Leger. Framed in the call-and-re­sponse of al­bum book­ends The Prestaliis I and II, the bar­barous an­themic cry of ‘Burn us, we are the ef­figy!’ is the first of many arms-open cho­ruses that dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings. Much more pol­ished and safe than you might ex­pect, the pro­duc­tion makes the spa­cious yet jagged metal ex­pand out­ward from your speak­ers, but it has sucked out some of the heart, too. At times feel­ing ster­ile, the dark­ness that per­me­ates through the record doesn’t al­ways feel gen­uine, like a rule­book is be­ing fol­lowed through­out – some­thing you don’t ex­pect or in­deed want from such es­teemed men of er­ratic hard­core. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the vo­cal shift Cory puts in places him leagues ahead of most other singers at­tempt­ing this ‘alt-metal’ style, switch­ing seam­lessly be­tween gnarled barks and swoop­ing cleans. Per­formed live this will surely be a dif­fer­ent and ra­bid beast, but hooks have re­placed the hon­esty. There’s a killer record wait­ing to be made, though.

Hun­dred Suns’ at­tempt at a pub quiz team wasn’t en­tirely suc­cess­ful

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