Ghosts On Pegasus Bridge

The Darkest Shore

Written by: BL on 11/06/2009 00:35:44

Sporting a cool band name and having built up a fanbase who tip them for success down here in the south of England, this writer finds himself slightly bemused as to how they managed to get here. Their last EP was reviewed here by TL, and he pretty much summed up how I felt about them at the same time. Would this new EP improve on the weaknesses previously stated? Well it certainly didn't turn out to be quite the simple yes or no answer I was hoping to find.

Stylistically the music hasn't changed an awful lot on face value. The guitars still play for the most part a combination of seen-it-before metalcore dual riffing, to a few melodic lead parts (even a guitar solo on "This Is Crisis"). There are a few more actual breakdowns this time round, which is almost a catch-up to the other screamo/metalcore bands out there at the moment (take this however you will). Elsewhere the newer production has resulted in a thicker tone, solidifying the low end while giving more clarity to the high pitched notes. It has also allowed for a bigger, grander feel (still aiming to perfect their brand of "epic-core" I think) to this EP that the last dearly lacked. Songs have smoother transitions in between passages, giving a more polished feel.

My biggest problem with the last EP though in terms of instruments was just the sheer generic-ness of it all (song writing and riff composition), and suffice to say while everything is certainly a step up here, it is still on the same boat as I guarantee there is hardly a single moment in these songs where you would not be reminded of something else. I can't blame them for trying to be catchy by playing solid safe riffs, but a bit more variation these days can carry a band in this overcrowded scene a long way (Not to say that they haven't expanded at all, the 2 minute mark on "This Is Crisis" was cool).

The other big weakness in the last EP were the vocals which quite frankly I felt lacked real definition and power. Nic Matthews's vocals on this release are a fair degree better in delivery and a bit more enjoyable overall (his transitions in "Dear Alisyia..." certainly sound better than anything on the last EP). The first and strongest track "For I Never Left (Always Yours)" makes use of some guttural death growls which marks a venture into heavier territory, something I think they should make more use of to give contrast. Nevertheless there are still plenty of areas for improvement though, for example the gang vocals on "Anchors" are painfully out of tune and ruined what would have been an otherwise passable moment. I am split over the harsh vocals (or a lack of) since in one sense more screaming can add more variety for their songs yet at the same time their persistence for a predominant clean vocal sound makes them a bit more unique given the brand of core they play and how other bands all mix scream and sing interplay.

So where do they go from here? It isn't as if these guys aren't showing improvement since "The Darkest Shore" is definitely better than "From Graves To Grace", and I still think they have potential to make a name themselves given that they work hard to add more unique flair to their upcoming full length. If you hated their last EP, or just screamo/metalcore in general, avoid. Otherwise they're a work in progress worth keeping half an eye out for, who have given us an EP not that boring but still a ride by the book.

Download: For I Never Left (Always Yours), Dear Alisyia - We're On Hollow Ground, This Is Crisis
For the fans of: Blessthefall, Open The Skies, Fightstar
Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.03.2009
A Wolf At Your Door Records

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