Album: Dawning [EP]
There is an old saying: the only constant in life is change. Over time, that adage has been adapted and added to (proving it to be somewhat of a truth), so that “death” and “taxes” are also permanent aspects of an otherwise transient life. After all, it is true: life is a fluid, dynamic thing that presents new pleasures, punishments and adversities with each fresh sunrise—or should I say—Dawning. The debut EP by Floridian metalcore quintet Acaedia, Dawning, is the result of an ever-changing existence and the constant arrival of new challenges, trials and tribulations. Gaining their name from the Latin root word for listlessness and unease, Acaedia attack the challenges the world offers them with track after track of calculated, crushing aggression, tinted with hints of ethereal atmosphere and touches of tedious, technically marvelous instrumentation. Dawning is all the fodder the listener needs to fuel even their worst days, turning them into nothing more than menial challenges that the listener can easily overcome.
Labeling Acaedia as another “progressive metalcore” band just brings to mind imagines of mindless djent and mediocre, half-hearted heaviness—Dawning is much more than that. While it may not be the dawning of an entirely new age for modern metalcore, it is certainly an inventive and lively twist on a stale and played-out genre. Rather than a death grip on antiquated styles of aggression and melody, Acaedia boldly clash hard hitting metalcore anthems with brilliant, painted touches of post-hardcore and post-rock. From the very onset of “Egoist,” percussionist Abel Fernandez is guilty of aggravated assault, bashing his drums into submission and smashing cymbals until they splinter. Fernandez’s beefy, deep kick drum and full-bodied snare serve as rich, nutrient-packed soil that Acaedia’s enormous, oaken goliath rises from. Where Fernandez is the soil, bassist Eddy Madero is the roots, giving Dawning structure and the spirit to grow, weaving in and out of Fernandez’s punch-drunk percussion to give structure to the remainder of Acaedia’s immense instrumentation. “Rotten” sees Madero at his most frantic, providing a beefy–but brash–firmament for the band’s guitarists with his thick, rollicking grooves. “Rotten” and its raunchy breakdowns and relentless riffing is a showcase for the band’s two musical heavy hitters: guitarists Javier Sardinias and Jesus Garcia. Tracks like “Rotten” and “Perfidious” are the dynamic duo taking swing after swing at the listener in a dedicated attempt to demolish them, grooving and chugging craters into the listener’s skull. However, “Truth Seeker” and “Evade” see the duo leading Acaedia into ambient territory, creating a huge canvas of airy, ethereal space where Madero can roam freely and Fernandez’s cymbals can echo and bleed into the aether as they please.
Even during Dawning‘s moments of temporary musical directionlessness, there is a guiding hand and leading voice—that of the dynamic and talented Ray Jimenez. Jimenez is an enormous and previously unknown talent, hitting the listener with a jaw-dropping diversity that begs praise. “Truthseeker” sees Jimenez experimenting with eerie, haunting clean vocals as well as the use of his most aggressive and abrasive screeches—while “Rotten” is a no-holds-barred attack on the listener with the full bore of his immense range. There are times where his throaty, harsh howls begin to wear heavily on the listener’s sanity, driving them mad until their sanity is restored by Jimenez’s soft, crooning singing. However, Jimenez is not just a talented but empty voice–for within his screeches, shouts and bellows there are words that hit just as hard. “Abandoned” is a catchy anthem that countless listener’s will effortlessly relate to, as it speaks to struggles of religious and personal identity. Meanwhile, “Perfidious” is an abstract take on Jimenez’ more juvenile and brazen aggressive voice, leaving nothing in the tank as he empties gallon after gallon of gasoline on the listener just to light them ablaze.
Okay, Acaedia don’t use a harpsichord, they don’t have a keys player, two drummers or any other gut wrenching gimmick. Rather, they come from the heart, depending on talent, tremendous heaviness and contagious catchiness to gain a home in the listener’s head. Dawning is progressive at parts, dazzling the listener with serenity and skin-shredding technicality both—but done tastefully and creatively such that it doesn’t get old after a weekend-binge. Rather, the listener only truly needs to listen to Dawning once, as one play through has enough catchiness and density of talent to remain lodged in the listener’s head for weeks. “Evade” is a smart and subtle hit, while more overt displays of over-the-top aggression found in “Rotten” and “Egoist” appeal to the chuggaholics among the band’s fanbase. Dawning is as diverse as it is disastrous–and believe me, by the time the climax to “Perfidious” hits, there is very little left standing before Acaedia.
In a time where everything changes and music scenes are subject to trend after trend, Acaedia provide a sense of permanence with Dawning. As reliable and beautiful as a summer sunrise, he band’s breakout EP is sure to be the soundtrack to several sleepless nights and endless days.
For Fans Of: Northlane, Structures, Volumes, Like Moths to Flames
By: Connor Welsh