The Australian unit enter the metalcore ranks on a high note.
Words by Luis, Heaviest of Art:
SharpTone Records have had quite a run for the last couple of years, releasing chart-topping, genre-defining efforts from bands both new and established like Of Mice & Men, Loathe, Dying Wish, Don Broco, Currents, Polaris, and more. That said, they've got a strong hold on the metalcore arena and are often counted on by fans for quality, time and time again. Keeping true to their mantra of Metalcore Is Not Dead, SharpTone keep a keen eye on the underground ranks and unearth gems worth every bit of attention, like today's focus, Australia's Pridelands.
Pridelands will meet the excitement surrounding them on January 14th when they release their highly anticipated debut, Light Bends, via SharpTone Records and Resist Records. Light Bends, which is properly adorned by a vibrant illustration of blue and purple hues, comes brimming with emotion as an effort that allows for a great deal of introspection. It serves as the byproduct of the band's collective traumas, which is evident from the cinematic opener, I Reach Into Your Heart.
Echoing chimes ring this in and the track slowly crescendos from a brooding Joshua Cory's vocal performance to a blood-curling eruption by way of Mason Bunt. The duality established by the alternating vocalists here is met instrumentally throughout the entirety of the record, alternating from track to track, minute to minute. Lights Bends is at times exhilarating and at times soothing, never once finding a comfort zone but always leaving much to the surprise of the listener. Lead single The Walls takes the exhilarating route and firmly cements itself as a Pridelands staple. The crisp production expands upon the band's big sound and allows each element to shine in prime form, especially Joe Lipsham's triplets and the wondrous chorus it boasts. Let it be known that the band have mastered the chorus art form throughout Light Bends and The Walls is but one of the several ideal examples present here. Razor sharp riffs follow on Parallel Lines and Bunt rages on with an invigorating vocal performance that seamlessly transitions into serene cleans by Cory.
Parted Time, another album standout, reigns with guitarist Daniel Lohrey and bassist Liam Fowler delivering blood-pumping rhythm with grit. The gentle notes that introduce the track are brief and take a sudden turn into an explosive territory carried by what could very well be Cory's and Bunt's best vocal performance on the album. The Lake of Twisted Limbs and Safer Here then turn the tempo down, the latter of which features elegant piano melodies exploring a more fragile side of the band's musicianship. Every scream comes riddled with pain while the instrumentation propels them to soaring heights. The bombastic Heavy Tongue fires things up once more and batters you in with vicious aggression, aggression created as a coalition of lively riffs and menacing tone. You can simply feel the moving groove radiating from each track as each flourishes with its own character. Translucent Blues, a personal favorite, glistens with Lohrey's playing as Cory's solemn voice guides listeners through a gentle passage before an arena-level chorus is prefaced by Bunt's militant fury. The Sun Will Find Us closes the composition in atmospheric fashion and again showcases the breadth that lies within the band's ranks. As a record driven by each band member's inner investment, Light Bends closes with an emotional catharsis that is both heard and felt with every musical layer that unfolds.
From start to finish, Light Bends proves to be a multifaceted work characterized by the heart it wears on its sleeves. It sports a level of sonic maturity expected of a band multiple full-lengths into their career, and yet, the band have only started to carve their path. With the many pressures that come with releasing a debut, Pridelands brave through it all and excel with an unbridled energy that will surely cease to fade. With the uplifting entry that is Light Bends as a sign of the future, metalcore is alive and well.
Light Bends arrives January 14th via SharpTone Records/Resist Records. Buy it HERE.