Young And In The Way - Amen
The opening track of Young And In The Way's debut album Amen is called Hell Is Other People. It is definately a sentiment I can relate to sometimes (hell, most of the times, to be honest). It's a short number, more like an intro of sorts, but a heavy one, with sludgy overtones, massive down-tuned guitars alternating simple melody and heavy riffs ontop of a pulsating bass. It slowly builds, leading the way towards the sudden explosive pace-change of Dark Seed, where an unrelenting mix of sloppy punk and dark hardcore moves into near-blast beat territory, with screamed, pissed-off and desperate-sounding vocals. The attack here is as varied as it is uncommon in its blend of styles with a closing mix of crusty sludge fading into an ambient drone. Only a couple of minutes into the album and I'm already impressed as hell.
Over the following three tracks, which feel like a single continuous one, we are served the same kind of unpredictability and seething rage where no one element is too out there to explore. We get high speed rage followed by dirge-like doomy sludge; we get punk riffs, double bass drum smatterings and d-beat charged metallic hardcore. There are some black metal influences at work here (I keep thinking of Satyricon for some reason) but also the jangly slightly jarring guitarwork associated with screamo and noiserock (yep, there's that aweful word again). The voice of Kable Lyall has a caustic, swaggery hardcore/punkrock edge to it, as well as a snarling black metal vibe, which he utilises in almost anthemic vocal patterns that are quite memorable right off the bat.
Track number five, White Light, suddenly breaks the furious pace and restless momentum with a dream/nightmare-like atmosphere where simple but effective toms create a rythmic cadence over shimmering guitar tones, alongside repeated monotonous riffs over a throbbing bassline and spoken somber vocals. This is in the realm of postrock/postmetal but not quite and this abrupt change of both tone and pace is as brilliant as it is surprising. The oddities continue on the closing track. Another odd man out in this already oddball congregation, titled The Becoming, it is a thirteen plus minute Neurosis-esque epic, moving from the same kind of melancholy dreamlike shoegaze-shimmering, almost lullabyish guitars as on White Light, to a series of pulsating crescendoes of violins, driving tribal midpaced rythms of sludgy post-hardcore melodies and screamed vocals. This is probably my favourite song on the album, even though it's by far the longest one.
This is an impressive album, indeed - and one not so easily categorized. There's enough here to sate the hardcore fans as well as the postmetal/sludge crowd. Though I'm not quite sure if the black metal influences are trve enough for the quasi-suicidal, self-cutting, corpse-painted juggaloo ubercvlt hordes, but to me it's a non-issue. Taken all together this is a damn fine peice of hardcore and my first proper introduction to the band - and as such it is an outstanding one; I really feel a need to delve further into the band and their discography. Very much recommended for any fan of (slightly) progressive metal-influenced hardcore that offers more than just the genre staples. Amen is available at their bandcamp for free as well as a double vinyl package (with the also previosly selfreleased album I Am Not What I Am) reissued by A389.