Album: Chapter III [EP]
We have obliterated earth; strapped a ticking time bomb to its core that we can neither stop nor slow. Instead, we are forced to expand–broaden our horizons to hope that might exist only in galaxies so far away we can only imagine it. Rather than something tired and abused, we need new, fertile ground upon which we can start anew–by “we,” I am referring to fans of heavy music the whole world over, and the “earth” we so desperately cling to is the current state of homogenized, beaten-to-death state of beatdown-infused, low, slow Deathcore. Even in spite of its relative youth, it has become the overworked, underpaid and woefully undiversified workhorse of the heavy music scene–think of it as the modern equivalent to metalcore in the late 2000’s. So what is this new planet that offers hope and salvation to a horrifyingly grim situation? The aptly named Worldseeker–a crushing quartet from Cleveland that expertly infused a splash of all things heavy into their latest EP, Chapter III.
Worldseeker are an instrumental amalgam of erratic nu-metal, disastrous deathcore and bloody-fist beatdown. On paper, that sounds like it’s been done to death and then some, but in practice, they establish absurd and flexible ratios of each that give every song a remarkably unique feel. Percussionist Christian Murphy is the winding backbone to Chapter III’s serpentine chokehold on the listener that allows tracks like “Hollowed” to maintain a raunchy, quick tempo that bounces between blistering blast beats and bodacious, bouncy grooves–while “A Saturday Night” is a comprehensive display of low-down-and-dirty drumming that busts the listener’s ribcage wide open. Each track Chapter III carves in the listener’s flesh shows Murphy manipulating these ratios, including bits of straightforward metallic percussion where appropriate, all so guitarists Steve Smith and Ryan Snyder can add fleshy, meaty substance to Murphy’s skeletal son structure. Smith’s bass guitar adds heft and heaviness to each thwomping smack of Murphy’s kick drum, giving even his quick double bass patterns a tangible coat of grime. Meanwhile, Snyder soars overhead, unleashing a barrage of scathing riffs and skull-smashing chugs that snap the listener in half with ease. The conclusion to “Worldseekers” is an excellent example; Snyder’s half-groove, half-chug decimates every aspect of the track, vaporizing the listener like an atomic bomb, leaving only Smith’s slinking bass to draw the song to a close.
Between the riff-driven and raunchy fretwork of Snyder and the pounding percussion of Murphy, Worldseeker do a good job of giving the listener a wide array of instrumental intensity to pick and choose from. However, where Murphy’s percussion favors deathcore-typified styling a and the bass and guitar oscillate between thrashy metallic shred and oppressive chugging, Chapter III’s biggest bastion of bold-faced beatdown manifests itself in the form of vocalist Kyle McBerry. McBerry’s shouts and growls are, in a word, husky. A great majority of McBerry’s vocals rely on a meaty, mid-range shout that is crystal clear and utterly intelligible. “Hollowed” showcases this almost exclusively, relying on a guest vocalist to provide the most apparent source of variety. However, “Pest Control” shows McBerry establishing his own diverse spectrum of sinister vocal styles. The first half of the track sees a bi-polar split between shrill shrieks and harsh shouts–as the latter half sees him incorporating raw shouts and yells alongside his meaty scream, practically wearing the “beatdown” badge on his sleeve. McBerry’s vocal consistency gives the listener an enormous source of comfort, establishing a familiar territory for each track’s roaming musical stylings, ultimately giving Worldseeker the unique flair they need to truly stand apart from flocks of unkempt downtempo and beatdown deathcore sheep.
Chapter III has enough diversity to be its own novel; making it a questionably named but completely immersive EP. “Creep” feels like it could be a B-Side from Dealey Plaza’s The Masonic Diaries, while “Hollowed” and “A Saturday Night” might be more expected on a split with the masterfully talented Wicked World. Each song Worldseeker craft is its own microcosm of marvelous heaviness–meaning some fans might be let down there aren’t more brutalizing anthems like “Creep” or fight-instigating tracks like “Worldseekers,” but ultimately, every track has a distinct flair and nuanced subtlety that will reach out to fans of any kind of heavy music. Worldseeker have done a difficult task with prodigal ease: creating an EP of incredibly varied songs that all still feel as if they are made by the same band. Because of this lush new take on lurid heaviness, there is a new hope–a light at the end of the dark, dismal deathcore tunnel–than manifests in the form of four Ohioan oppressors and their latest craft, Chapter III.
For Fans Of: Towers, Wicked World, Beacons, Dealey Plaza
By: Connor Welsh