Bound In Fear

Osiah, Lorna Shore, Signs of the Swarm, Crown Magnetar, Worm Shepherd, Lieweaver, Distant, Slaughter to Prevail, Mental Cruelty, Dead/Awake, and others, : “We released the heaviest deathcore releases of 2021!”

Bound in Fear: “…Hold my beer”.

The UKs Bound In Fear snuck onto my 2019 year-end list with The Hand of Violence (“Stigmata” and “Hate Circuit”  still remain two of the heaviest deathcore songs I’ve ever heard), and their EP, from earlier this year Eternal,  showed them to still be a force to be contended with. But I wasn’t ready for this.

Penance is stupid heavy, I mean just, over the top, bass drop filled, inhuman bellows, wreck your speakers heavy. It continues where the darker, EP left of with longer songs, motifs of anger, depression and abuse from frontman, Ben Mason (akin to Whitechapel’s The Valley), and has a few introspective moments of experimental solace. But from start to finish,  this is relentless heavy, downtempo, chugging devastation. In fact, taking in the whole album in one sitting for review purposes, gave me a headache.

The recipe isn’t complicated. It’s not technical or adventurous or groundbreaking, and the songs all have a pretty similar, lumbering gait and delivery, but it’s delivered with such a merciless, laser focused intensity and palpable spine-shattering heft, it can be overwhelming. And certainly those who are not fans of the genre or breakdowns, won’t come away from this with anything, but those who like this stuff, (i.e., me) will appreciate how densely destructive this is.

From 6 minute opener “(De)scendance”), (featuring Jamie Graham of  Viscera), it’s clear what you are getting into, even with the band’s slight infusion of semi experimental atmospheres (sort of semi clean vocals, some choppy, squeaky riffs here and there), that this is going to be a simple, effective, bruising beatdown. The title track, (featuring Nick Arthur of Molotov Solution) delivers more of the same, a little moodiness and introspection, broken up by sheer, unadulterated, downtempo heft that just gets slower and heavier as it ends. The album’s opening, guest vocalist having trio  (there is another later, “Nu11” with Left to Rot‘s Taylor barber) ends with “Scar of Man” (featuring Nick Muller of Aluvial) speeds things up a but ends on a few bars of utterly inhuman heaviness.

Admittedly, the first three songs pretty will lay the template for the next 7 songs, but I keep getting to the next song just to see if they can get any heavier, and of course they do with the likes of more urgent “Adrenaline”, short, sharp “Cutthroat”  and peak of the heft, “Sadist” . Last track, “Polarity” starts with some softer whispered spoken words to start, but then almost delivers a deathcore ‘doom’ number ( as does “Beyond the Mire” and crippling last-minute “I Still Dream of the End”) similar to Xibalba’s recent output to close out the effort on a somber, but still jarringly heavy note.

While most are wrinkling their nose up at Unique Leader’s continued forays in deathcore and downtempo, the fact is I’m all over this stuff, I’m just not sure how you top Bound In Fear‘s heaviness without something that’s unlistenable or safe for human ears.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 27th, 2021


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