By Tim Bolitho-Jones
Proudly waving the metalcore flag, Scotland’s From Sorrow To Serenity bring the crunch on ‘Reclaim,’ their second full length album. Having attracted a reasonable amount of praise with their debut, this follow-up should see their star continue to rise, even if it isn’t an especially ground-breaking record. It’s a decent collection of pulverising riffs and mechanised breakdowns and while not as good as last year’s exceptional Bleed From Within album (guitarist Steve Jones plays in both bands), it should satisfy anyone looking for a big plate of mosh potatoes.
Because of their name it is tempting to compare them to Killswitch Engage and while there are similarities, there’s more to these guys than simple hero-worship. They’ve got the pre-requisite violent verses and clean choruses, but there’s more than a faint whiff of death metal and Djent to be found here too. The guitar tone has that post-Meshuggah stomp and there’s off-kilter melodies to be found scattered between the riffs. Singer Gaz King meanwhile has a deceptively versatile voice; on first listen he appears to be another Jasta-alike, but on repeat plays you notice the deeper growls, pig squeals and sky-scraping cleans. He’s a charismatic frontman and does a grand old job stepping up to the mic, this being his first official release with the band.
Song wise, opener ‘Denounce’ is a straight up fist-swinger, but ‘We Are Liberty’ is where the album truly comes alive. Riffs hit like haymakers, King barks his throat into oblivion and the macho gang chants should see this becoming a fan favourite. It recalls Heart Of A Coward at their shouty best and when the atmospheric title track follows, it seems From Sorrow To Serenity may have hit the nail on the head with ‘Reclaim.’
And for about 70 per cent of the run time, they do. Some of these tracks are massive back breakers (hello ‘Solitude’), but there’s also a few which are a tad forgettable. ‘Unity Asunder’ for instance is a momentum killer, while ‘Inside A Soul’ is a plodding and easily skippable number. It segues nicely into the far superior ‘Supremacy,’ but in all honesty could have been left out without damaging the experience at all.
Thankfully though, when they’re on point From Sorrow To Serenity are a force to be reckoned with and nowhere is this more aptly demonstrated than in ‘Resurgence.’ This closing cut is a fantastic concluding statement; a precision engineered epic with an absolute motherfucker of a breakdown at the finish. It can be tempting to put all the best tracks in the first half but saving this beast until the finale was a wise decision. It ends the album in perfect stand-on-a-cliff-and-scream-at-the-oceans style and demonstrates just how exciting metalcore can be when done properly.
Not flawless then but certainly worth more than a few spins, ‘Reclaim’ is a highly promising sophomore effort from these lads. There are a few missteps along the way but as a whole, it’s another welcome addition to the UK’s burgeoning metalcore scene. If they keep writing songs as good as ‘Resurgence’ and ‘We Are Liberty’ their next one will be a masterpiece.
- ‘Reclaim’ is released on 22 March. You can get your copy HERE.
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