Continents
Idle Hands

With standouts such as Between the Buried and Me, God Forbid, Darkest Hour and Jungle Rot, it’s safe to say that Victory Records is one of the top labels when it comes to metal/extreme music.  In addition to the above bands they are also quite well known for the large number of metalcore/deathcore bands on their label, with some of the more notable ones being Emmure, All Out War, Within the Ruins and Wretched.

That being said, the debut album by UK band Continents definitely falls into the latter category, and also is mixing in more of the stop-start djent style guitar work that’s all the rage.  A lot of metal/hardcore bands have incorporated this into their sound over the past year or so, and it seems to be an obvious choice to breathe some life into a genre that has kind of plateaued for a while.  It’s pulled off pretty well here, and helps to add a dose of heft to their already massive sound.

Track 3, “Pegasus, Pegasus”, starts off with aforementioned djent intro, and then some God Forbid style clean vocals lead back into pound-the-walls territory.  Ending with a punk/crust bridge just before the outro, there’s a good mix of genres on display here.  A minute into the next track, “Inhale”, you see the obvious Emmure influence, with spoken vocals buffered by more gruff shouts and group yells.  They show up again on “Regrets”, and are so close in style I had to double check that Emmure’s Frankie Palmeri didn’t make a guest appearance.  Oddly enough one of the best tracks on the album is also the shortest, “Sheeps in Wolves’ Clothing.”It’s an instrumental save for the vocals in the first 30 seconds, with the final minute featuring a groovetastic chug riff that would no doubt start a spin-kick war in the pit.

One negative of this album is the band’s overuse of F-bombs, which while ok when used sparingly, show up way too often here.  Now I have no issue with swearing whatsoever, but in hardcore it comes across as a weak attempt to sound “hard” or add some manufactured anger to your album.  That aside the vocals of Phil Cross aren’t bad, and there’s enough variety to keep the tracks from blending together.  Victory has found another band that should likely move some units when this one drops at the end of January.

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Written by Kevin E
January 22nd, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Victory records sucks, man.


  2. Commented by: Dewey

    @Nick: Yeah, I was expecting the 1st sentence to be the setup for a joke. One of the top extreme music labels? When your least-commercial “star acquisition” is Jungle Rot, your label has gone astray.


  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    and btbam arent even on victory any more. label is pretty awful now cept for jungle rot pathology and wretched.


  4. Commented by: Speed

    Victory Records + Emmure clone + “should likely move units” = will never, ever listen


  5. Commented by: Kevin E.

    I totally disagree. And if you are into the hardcore/deathcore scene, there are even more bands on there that someone would like but I know there’s this bullshit bias against those genres so I didn’t mention too many of them. It all depends on your tastes.


  6. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    if you’re down with deathcore, you need to reexamine your tastes, homey. that shit sucks.
    Victory is a corporate-run shit factory whose main man is one of the most amoral business people in the history of metal and hardcore. he has personally screwed friends of mine. Tony Brummel is a true opportunist and a real bag of shit. The label released some awesome shit throughout the years (Integrity remain one of my favourite bands ever, for example.) but at this point, they in no way represent anything worthwhile.


  7. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Ive interviewed several current and former Victory bands and they have all HATED being on the label and dealing with Tony…


  8. Commented by: Kevin E.

    “if you’re down with deathcore, you need to reexamine your tastes, homey. that shit sucks.”

    Exactly my point. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that I could buy my own island. But again that is strictly your opinion and obviously one you’re entitled to.


  9. Commented by: Jerry

    not that you need to defend your opinion, but what would you say is the appeal of the bands you get chastised for?


  10. Commented by: Kevin E.

    Honestly I’m a breakdown junkie and have no reservation in saying so. That’s not all there is to it, but it’s one of the main reasons. Same reason slam death is one of my favorite genres.

    The thick/layered guitar sound of bands like Emmure and Hatebreed are one of the aspects of metal I have also enjoyed, and is one of the trademarks of the death/hardcore genre. Same reason Rotten Sound is probably one of my top 5 bands with their wall of sound guitar tone.

    I hope that helps, and I honestly appreciate you asking a legitimate question instead of just another post about “hardcored/deathcore/ x-core sucks”. Never understood the reasoning behind all of that other than simple elitism with respect to one’s tastes in metal. I don’t care for Mastodon and never have, but I’m not gonna be all “Mastodon blows nuts man! Whitechapel for life!” Again just doesn’t make sense to me, but then again a lot of things don’t.


  11. Commented by: Kevin E.
  12. Commented by: E. Thomas

    i like breakdowns and i like a lot of deathcore. i take the ribbing that comes with it. such is life. victory is pretty awful though regardless…;)


  13. Commented by: Jerry

    I could really write a book on this subject after having to settle for playing in -core bands due to there being virtually no actual metal scene where I live. Thankfully that isn’t the case anymore, but since like 1999 I’ve seen every trend leeched from “core” come and go out of metal here, and I understand the hate. I’m not going to rail on you for what you like, but I have a lot of theories on the subject.
    There are essentially two kinds of metal listeners: those who like the aesthetic of hateful sounding music and evil imagery, and those who view it as a kind of art. The type of metal that is reliant on breakdowns doesn’t really fit into either category for a few reasons: for the former, most of it is played by suburban looking kids that all have the same uniform (stretched ears, fully tattooed, coiffed hair, etc.) which is a turnoff for the average metalhead (who likewise can be pigeonholed for their idols all essentially looking the same) since the image doesn’t fit, and for the latter, the songwriting crutches that breakdowns are invalidate the art behind the music. Now I think the image thing is silly but I totally get it. A lot of people turned to metal due to an act of rebellion and it really is a style perfected by outcasts. If you’re a metalhead who was shunned by common people for being a dork without social skills, I can see why you wouldn’t want your music to be played by some Abercrombie wearing kids whose parents bought them all their gear. At the same time, I think certain image tenets like corpsepaint scream “poser” louder than anything in the world. As much as I think black metal sucks extra hard though, the ignorant metalhead in me would question its validity less if the people playing it weren’t flannel-sporting beardos.
    As for the musical aspect of it, I can tell you through being in bands with breakdowns that it is a songwriting flaw. I’ve been in multiple situations where bandmates tried to piecemeal a song together using them “just so the kids can dance.” When a song stops coming from the artist and starts being written for the audience, that is when its validity essentially falls apart. And if you like breakdowns, I can’t really criticize you for liking what you like. But it really is the easiest way to pander to a casual listener. Anyone can open chug to get a crowd moving. Anyone. And the rhythmic aspect of the open chug breakdown has more in line with urban music than metal, and because of this mainstream appeal, the typical metalhead will openly rebel against it.
    I understand enjoying heavy, and the wall of sound thing is awesome. As much as I hate The Acacia Strain, I will say “The Dead Walk” sounds heavy as fuck. I can hang with certain albums that are universally panned due to the sound of what is being played. As much as it is their “Cold Lake,” Grave’s “Hating Life” still has the most crushing guitar tone I’ve heard, but once again it was berated by the metal community for having a (very slight) hardcore leaning.
    I won’t deny the immediate gratification of the breakdown (also an issue with music today-people don’t have the patience for melody or interesting structure), but I just wish there was a way to get the breakdown appeal across with changing notes and more individuality, since no band has their own take on it. Now all of this is just a matter of opinion and I’m not sure why I went into such detail, but yeah. If bands like Emmure are totally doing it for you, enjoy them, but I will say there are far deeper bands under that umbrella that I would hope you could take the time to appreciate instead.


  14. Commented by: Jerry

    hmm…I just wrote a super long concise comment on the subject that seems to have been swallowed by the internet somehow.


  15. Commented by: Kevin E.

    Good post Jerry. I will say, though, that it’s a hard case to sell the idea that breakdowns always equal “easy, or lack of talent/structure/whatever”. First of all you have to answer the question “compared to what”? Where is the bar set, and who judges said bar? Just because something is “hard” or “complicated” doesn’t necessarily make it more artful or better. There are just as many people turned off by the overuse of sweeps and complicated guitar work that you get with say Beneath the Massacre or Spawn of Possession. And them being “complicated” or “technical” in no way makes them better, other than in the ears of the listener. It can maybe be appreciate more by people who understand the complexity or talent it takes, but again that doesn’t make it “better”.

    An analogy, and something I studied first hand in art history, is how minimalism can be just as lauded as other forms of art. A 20 foot canvas with nothing but a 6 inch square box painted in the middle of it could be more valuable or labeled as “more artistic” than a Monet or a Van Gogh. And no I’m not exaggerating here, and there are examples of it all over the art world.

    It obviously comes down to taste, and liking core bands does not therefore equal a lack of understanding or appreciation of art (music in this case), any more than liking comedy films means you can’t appreciate “The Godfather”. I like the movie “Tommy Boy”, but I understand why it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. That in itself does not make it “better” or “worse” than any other film out there. It’s obviously art and it’s one of the most subjective things on this earth, but blanket statements in any form are something the philosopher in me will always take issue with.

    It’s the same as saying “All Ford truck suck because I had one that went bad on me.” Well there’s millions out there who will agree and millions who will disagree with you. And I’m not trying to be “right” and make anyone else “wrong”, just for the record. But I always appreciate a good debate.


  16. Commented by: Jerry

    Oh it’s definitely not about technicality per se for me. One of my favorite records of all time is Skepticism’s Aes. Simple as fuck, but no one will ever be able to recreate that mood. Where breakdowns lose me (aside from my aforementioned post) is not the ease at which they are played, but the lack of creativity involved. I listen to music to hear exciting sounds I haven’t heard before, and just because one band’s breakdown is in 11/8 as opposed to 13/8 doesn’t make it any more creative. Now I get what you are saying about Spawn of Possession, etc. seeing as how I think sweeps are lame as hell too. I loved Spawn’s first, and the track “Hidden in Flesh” has this super creative structure that kills me. Where they are at now, I can’t tell the songs apart. Extreme metal is slowly moving away from the riff and more toward the chug/sweep formula, which preys on both the listener’s need for immediate gratification and also superficially wows them with “technical” playing but none of it is creative in the slightest. Obscura apparently put out an album of 2012 to many but I didn’t hear a single riff on the damned thing. I’ll take an Anata or Theory in Practice over any of these supposed “tech” bands anyday.
    Here is my band’s record. I made an effort to make it both creative and extreme. You won’t hear a single sweep on it.
    arawi.bandcamp.com


  17. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I like a good breakdown as much as the next guy. that’s why i don’t like deathcore: deathcore breakdowns all sound identical to me. there’s other ways to make people mosh, you know?


  18. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I don’t really care for overly technical music. (the major exceptions being Dillinger and Converge) I tend to enjoy either metal with a hellish, catastrophic atmosphere, or metal that just simplistically bludgeons the fuck out of you.


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