A Callous Heart Rejects

Written by: KW on 02/04/2020 17:54:28

The world is stuck in isolation and people are itching to get out and enjoy some more music at gigs and festivals. Unfortunately, it is not within my powers to do anything about that — what is within my powers though, is to recommend that you go check out one of the newest additions to the flourishing underground metal scene of Denmark: Clients from Copenhagen. As it turns out, this début record, “A Callous Heart Rejects”, showcases a band that’s seemingly bursting at the seams with potential with their modern blend of black and death metal and metalcore. So let’s unpack it!

The record takes a no bullshit approach to kicking things off with the racing and blaring “Moth King”, which does a fine job of showcasing the kind of sound the band has decided to conjure up: melodic, brutal, abrasive, epic, and with some pretty clear nods to Anaal Nathrakh. One of the strongest tracks of the record, “A Thousand Punctured Veins”, continues this trend with an ear-worm of a chorus that, while being absolutely unrelenting with its insanely fast double bass drumming and distorted, aggressive howls from frontman Nick Demant, manages to get stuck in my head because of the fantastic melodic sensibilities it incorporates. It amounts to one of my favourite Danish metal tracks this year thus far, so don’t sleep on this one.

“The Drop and the Current” turns down the tempo in one of the proggier, black metal-style tracks of the album, rife with a doomsday choir, evil minor chords and mid-tempo grooves, but also a surprising dual-harmonic guitar part that almost sounds like something Mastodon would write and sets everything up for the genius transition into complete mayhem around the halfway mark. There’s a lot going on in this track but it never sounds messy and flows incredibly well. But then comes the first misstep. “Orchestrator” seems like a very strange choice to include after the brutality the listener is subjected to in the first three songs, with its simple In Flames-sounding lead guitars, electronic snare samples and soaring clean vocals in the chorus, that just fall flat for me due to the uninteresting delivery. Unfortunately, this track just doesn’t do much for me, mainly because of the weak vocal delivery and somewhat generic sound of it all, and it just ends up sounding misplaced. Luckily, “Mouth of Exile” then violently throws it aside with a short burst of dissonant ferocity, delivering less than two minutes of blistering drums and full-on grindcore chaos.

“Spectator to the Night” follows somewhat in the footsteps of “Orchestrator” by incorporating more mid-tempo chugs, electronic samples and melody, but comes out the other side as a much more successful experiment, though in some senses it is also a little gratingly different from the core sound of the record. However, the tremolo picked melodies and blastbeats in the choruses sound massive and once again tell me that this is one of the main forces of the band: writing gigantic walls of sound… which the final song “Coma Throne” is also proof of. The track sports some very interesting sonic textures in the first leg of the tune, before going the blackgaze route and delivering a mountainous crescendo of epic proportions. What a way to finish off the record!

While “A Callous Heart Rejects” includes some unquestionably strong tracks, some of the experiments here just don’t pan out and they hurt the flow and impact of the record overall. The drums can also be a bit overbearing and robotic at times, but this isn’t that much of a problem since they still fit the loudness of the record in most cases. It isn’t a perfect record by any means but it is a thoroughly enjoyable one, one that has made me all the more excited to see what happens next. With a bit of focus on establishing a more coherent signature sound, the next effort from Clients could cement them as one of the most exciting bands of the Danish underground at the moment.

Download: A Thousand Punctured Veins, The Drop and the Current, Mouth of Exile, Spectator to the Night, Coma Throne
For the fans of: Anaal Nathrakh, Aphyxion, Cattle Decapitation, Svart Crown
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.03.2020

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