Savior EP

Written by: KW on 21/03/2018 17:37:47

While I would call myself a deathcore fan in general, the genre itself has seen its fair bit of staleness and ups and downs through the years. Luckily, there are some bands out there right now pushing the envelope of what could be classified as deathcore, keeping the genre alive and well — bands like Fit For An Autopsy, Humanity’s Last Breath, CABAL and I, Valiance rank as some of my favourites within the sound, because they bring something new and refreshing to the table.

Today, I’m happy to present a new very interesting band to potentially join the ranks of flag-bearers in this space of breakdowns and brutal growls. Meet Greylotus, a project founded by Ben Towles from Baltimore, MD. One look at the cover art for this new EP, entitled "Savior”, will tell you that this isn’t just some ordinary deathcore act. While the shadowy figures somberly gazing at the viewer are slightly unsettling, the whole scene is enveloped in a blinding warm light, giving the display a more comforting feeling rather than menacing, overcoming the shadows. This artwork seems quite clearly crafted to represent the themes behind this EP, which deal with heavy subject matters such as mental health struggles, albeit in a more positive and inspirational manner. As Ben Towles puts it himself: "This project’s intentions are to tell the story of one overcoming battles with mental health struggles, but more importantly to offer advice and coping mechanisms that others may use in their own lives." This intention is conveyed through the profound lyrics, which offer uplifting mantras in the darkness — for example:

"Stand tall. Stand tall.

Love and peace are just as true.

Be one with life, it is not you so

Stand tall. Stand tall."

But how does it sound then? Well, calling Greylotus just a deathcore band would be an injustice, since there is so much more going on. The EP kicks off straight to the point in the track "Ravine” with sweeping guitars and a groovy tech-death riff, before massive black metal-infused chords swallow up the scene with brutal guttural growls on top. While "Ravine" stands as a great opening track and introduction to the band’s sound, it ultimately falls short of the other tracks in terms of compositional ability and emotional impact. The track ends abruptly before my personal favourite takes over. "The Grip" starts out with melodic and harmonic lead guitar with a lighter, yet melancholic feel to them. This serves as the main riff throughout the song, returning several times but with blastbeats, tremolo picked guitar chords and vicious, high pitched screams, giving a strong post-black metal feel to it. It is incredibly beautiful and sent chills down my spine upon the first listen. This track just has everything, even an earth shattering breakdown at the start, with amazing-sounding pick scrapes that Gojira have become known for popularizing. The track slowly fades out in the end with emotional strings, as a silent piano delivers a moment to catch your breath before the madness of the last song is unleashed. "Savior" ends with a bang, reaching blistering speeds and chaos with the track "Pallbearer". This track really shows what a fantastic guitar player Towles is and what a knack he has for creating riffs that are at once mind-bending, catchy and groovy, yet mix in the epic-ness and melancholy of post-black metal that we also heard in "The Grip". This formula just works really well and is part of what makes "Savior" such an entertaining and emotional listen at the same time.

"Savior" is not without its problems, though they are scarce if I have to be honest. Firstly, while Drewsif Stalin surely has created a dense and huge sounding production, the drums can at times sound very clicky and mechanical, which is fairly often what happens when using programmed drums (which I assume is the case here). Secondly, the release is on the short side, only lasting 15 minutes divided across three tracks, which is short even for an EP in my opinion. This does not take anything away from the fact that I think this is a fantastic debut release, which shows a promising future for the Greylotus project. I cannot wait to see what a potential full-length release could bring to the table, if "Savior" is anything to go by. In the meantime, I highly recommend any fan of the technical and atmospheric side of metal to check this out.

Download: The Grip, Pallbearer
For the fans of: Fit For An Autopsy, Lorna Shore, Fallujah
Listen: Facebook

Release date 23.01.2018

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