Drown This City ‘Alpha // Survivor’ – Album Review
4/5 Aussie newcomers solidify Metalcore’s relevance in a new era of Hardcore music
Metalcore has always been a genre that rarely received integral recognition from mainstream and metal audiences alike, with many critiquing the repetition of the “metalcore formula” which include drop tuned, palm muted guitars, angsty lyrics and lead singers who whinged more than they sung, and I loved it.
In recent years the genre has gone through a metamorphosis, with more bands experimenting with Nu-Metal, Progressive and Hard Rock aesthetics. This brings us to ‘Drown This City’, an Australian quintet who, on their last EP, wrote predominantly Electronic styles of music, it still had elements of metal, and sounded like a culmination of the hard-hitting Industrial styles of ‘Motionless in White’ and the airy, haunting elements of ‘PVRIS’.
A solid three years on from that debut EP, the band find themselves moving into a new terrain, and taking heavy influences from modern Metalcore kings ‘Architects’, with the jangly, technical riffs and images of despair within the lyrics. A standout component of this EP is frontwoman Alex Reade, the prowess and presence her voice brings alone is chilling. She has such versatility in her abilities, from her very floaty, fragile cleans to her brutal and haunting screams, she is what metalcore lacks, a bit of female edge.
Only bands like ‘Jinjer’ have really had a female lead singer who is a master of both vocal styles, and I am living for this new wave of female fronted Metal acts. The electronic elements are still there, and it’s reminiscent of the early days of the genre, when groups like ‘Asking Alexandria’ and ‘I See Stars’ were the leading acts popularising the merging of Electronic music with Metal.
Obviously, this fad died out, with bands choosing minimalist, ambient pads and electronics to create a visceral soundscape. ‘Drown This City’ take this influence and give it a more mature and redefined update. Long gone are the Techno fills in between breakdowns, replaced with wonderfully placed fills reminiscent more of Dubstep, which only add to the hard-hitting value of this EP.
A solid effort from a band who are only going to grow and become a more rounded group of musicians, it’s an exciting record with lots of good moments. Stand out tracks are ‘Stay Broken’, ‘In Your Image’ and ‘Love Makes Cowards of Us All’.