Artist: With Locusts and Liars
Album: The Turnaround – EP
Remember physics class? Well if you don’t (and I don’t blame you), here’s a quick refresher: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This postulate was initially proposed by Sir Isaac Newton, and is one of few scientific laws to stand the test of time relatively unblemished. So imagine this: for every instance of negativity, bitterness and shit luck the world piles on your shoulders, there will—eventually—be an explosive reaction, or, in the case of With Locusts and Liars, a Turnaround. The Turnaround is what happens when the straw that breaks the camel’s back ends up just making the camel stronger, and more thirsty for revenge. An example of boundless bitterness sprinkled in a brooding pit of brutality and finished with flashy touches of technicality and expert production, With Locusts and Liars’ debut EP is scathing nu-metalcore done devilishly well.
With Locusts and Liars are the latest leg-snapping offering from Florida’s already booming nu-heaviness scene. Pumping out intense and aggressive bands by the metric ton, the need for originality and catchiness has never been greater for young bands in search of finding a devoted fan base: and thankfully for this Floridian quartet, they hit that nail squarely on the head with The Turnaround. A quick, deep-cutting display of downtuned and demonic barbaric brutality, The Turnaround is what happens when deathcore, nu-metal and glitchy, electronic effects collide with one each other and leave only one survivor. Percussionist Hanze Ruiz is ravaging, ruthlessly dominating the kit with fleet footwork and flashy fills that fit perfectly into the jarring electronic twists and turns that define dot the release. “Inner Demons” is an excellent example of Ruiz’s prowess, as he kicks the album off by bursting forth from a subtle electronic build-up. “The Butterfly Effect” also sees Ruiz in his element, weaving around explosive bass drops and the cunning fretwork from bassist Olivier De Tomas and the band’s dark, dizzying guitarist. De Tomas adds thick, filthy grit to everything he touches; whether it’s Ruiz’s drumming in “Dirt,” or Castillo’s crushing breakdowns throughout “The Hunted.” However, the most daunting task of any of With Locusts and Liars’ instrumentalists falls upon the guitarist; They alone have to create riffs and grooves that can link together his lobotomizing breakdowns without stepping all over the tedious and carefully placed glitchy, flashy electronics. Again, the band meets with enormous success, with no issue writing and playing punishing portions of furious fretwork that do exactly what they need to.
With Locusts and Liars have an innovative instrumental approach down—but what about their vocal element? Is it well-written enough to stand out in a scene flooded with angsty individuals with a pen, pad and raw throat? Is it catchy enough to linger in the listener’s mind long enough to give way to replay button abuse? Fear not—for frontman Kedric Jung has a unique, shrill scream that easily stands out, with a series of one-liners that will have you hitting the repeat button like Chris Brown. “Say My Name,” “Inner Demons” and “The Butterfly Effect” all have insane one-liners that sound like they’d belong in an early Emmure album or on b-sides to Start/End. Likewise, Jung’s vocal work is on point, relying heavily on high, screechy (but intelligible) shouts that dip into grisly growls and harshly spat spoken syllables when the time calls for it. Jung gives an aggressive, bitter performance that is the perfect counterpart to The Turnaround’s instrumentation—giving With Locusts and Liars a strong dynamic to work with.
With fangs honed by driving drumming and frantic fretwork in a mouth build by bold electronics, and venom provided by Jung’s stinging one-liners, With Locusts and Liars are a well-rounded, catchy and crushing band that will chew you up and spit you out with every track. Equally well-versed in short, sinister tracks (“Inner Demons”) and lengthy, lurid lessons in aggression (“Dirt” and “The Butterfly Effect,”) The Turnaround is one of the more original and belligerent bands to emerge from nu-metalcore’s stomping grounds. In a time where originality and catchiness must be first and foremost arguments in their attempt to make a mark, this quartet has their priorities straight. Falling somewhere between Darke Complex and yesteryear’s Barrier, With Locusts and Liars may be the first tide of a new wave of low-down-and-dirty Floridian Fury.
For Fans Of: Sworn In, Barrier, Darke Complex, Deviant, Eavesdropper
By: Connor Welsh