Released Friday 17 March 2022
For fans of As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains
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VII is the debut album from Survivalist, a five-piece metalcore band from Belfast, Northern Ireland—although, frustratingly, I can’t find anywhere that lists their line-up (I like that kind of detail).
The album opens with the sounds of wind and waves and a gentle piano melody and distant vocals, that could easily be featured on the soundtrack to The Chinese Room game Dear Esther. But don’t be fooled, “In which I envy” (track 1) soon gathers pace and kicks in with a rattling drum break and heavy guitars. The production and mix on this album is solid throughout, offering a well balanced and heavy sound throughout.
“End on lust” (track 2) follows a similar vein with a blend of heavy guitars and gruff vocals that are accompanied by clean melodies. The distant, pounding intro to “Greed and obsession” (track 3) soon emerges from the deep into another galloping anthem. The breakdown around halfway is pleasing with soaring melodies, dissonant guitars and waves of throaty vocals.
“Pride brings ruination” (track 4) opens with an unsettling-sounding intro before settling into what is now a familiar groove. Clean vocals around two-thirds through offers a welcome change in dynamics before returning to a majestic wall-of-sound outro. “The gluttony of a god” (track 5) takes no prisoners, right from the off in an uncompromising demonstration of all that is good about metalcore.
“With wrath” (track 6) is possibly the heaviest track on the album but it still eases back a little to create some space for melody amidst the blast beats and angry, shouty vocals.
Album closer, “Of mindfulness and sloth” (track 7) offers a little more melody than the previous tracks and provides a pleasing outro to an album that finished too early for my liking. I would have loved to hear more.
Survivalist have a sound that is both modern and traditional. They blend elements of metalcore, death and alternative rock into melodic choruses, captivating groove patterns and climatic and unrelenting breakdowns. There is surely something here for everyone.
Review score: 90%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Survivalist forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Survivalist. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to MDPR, and to Survivalist for continuing to create fresh, exciting metalcore.