Modern Earth

Written by: MAK on 28/05/2016 14:00:07

Raw emotion is one thing you can expect from Somerset act Landscapes. The melodic hardcore outfit forced themselves into the genre like a freight train with their debut album, “Life Gone Wrong”, but have been quiet since the cycle of the album that was released back in 2012. We started to wonder if a second album was even coming, people certainly wanted one. Finally, we have “Modern Earth” to show us that being patient was worth the wait.

The album kicks off with sombre guitar melodies and an eerie guitar tone that is dragged out to build suspense for the short intro track, “Mouths of Decadence”. The opener breaks into “Observer”, which is filled with intricate drum beats at the beginning and soon we hear Shaun Milton’s frustrated shouts and gravelly spoken word cleans flood the song. The frontman is backed by a guitarist noodling away in the background and a rhythm section creating a hugely atmospheric wall of sound.

Only a few minutes into the album and we are already on to track three as the opener tracks are short-lived and straight to the point. “Death After Life” continues the dark emotions that the first couple of tracks deliver, starting slower with melodies that are soothing, but Milton’s raspy vocals take over and unleashes his frustration on the song and soon the music matches him, crescendoing with Milton the more angst-ridden he gets.

“Embracer” comes across heavier than the previous tracks, with distorted riffs and shouts that only get fiercer as the song progresses. It’s a mid-tempo rocker that emulates something closer to Basement. “Remorser” then acts as a three-minute ambient interlude with barely audible clean vocals for the most part. It starts off with acoustic guitar plucks and soon the soft rhythmic melodies and slow beats gradually become more intense, leading into yet more angsty shouts from Milton.

The interlude leads into single track “Neighbourhood”, which is one of the most standout tracks on the album, blending all the factors from a soft and sombre tone to the epically atmospheric. It is a song that shows off the technical ability of drummer Jordan Urch as his intricate drum rolls flow through the song. “Escapist” follows suit as it is a song of two halves, again starting off with a moody and softer atmosphere before it leads off into a heavier, more aggressive ending.

“Aurora” is another interlude, more of a spoken word piece that heads into the fastest and heaviest song on the album, “Radiance”. It’s a full frontal track that comes out of nowhere and sounds more like a 90s metalcore track with vicious shouts, breakdowns and distorted down-tuned grooves along with energetic beats. Why is there not more of this?

Alas, “Transient” may not be as fast, but it is nearly as heavy and it feels like Landscapes are throwing all of their more aggressive emotions in the end of this album. The final track, “Heaven Ascended” is like all of the darker feelings bottled up and ready to explode as Milton near enough tears his larynx in another epic atmospheric piece filled to the brim with wall-of-sound style riffs that dominate the ears.

“Modern Earth” sounds like the band have been through some shit in the last few years, getting a lot of the dark stuff off their chest while also showing their growth as musicians and songwriters, creating a melodic hardcore album that is up there with the elites such as Being As An Ocean or More Than Life. It’s a great release that blends heavy and soft in a sublime fashion. While my hardcore tastes tend to lean nearer to the likes of Terror, this is one of the better emotional hardcore albums I’ve heard.


Download: Radiance, Neighbourhood, Death After Life
For The Fans Of: Being As An Ocean, Dead Swans, Defeater, Basement

Release date 01.04.2016
Pure Noise Records

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