Album: Complications [EP]
Technicality, power and dynamism are important things for bands–especially metalcore bands in today’s cut-throat scene. You can bet more than your bottom dollar that if a band’s breakdowns don’t hit hard enough, or their riffs aren’t engaging enough, that there’s a band from the next state over who does. However, just as important as neck-snapping brutality and jaw-dropping shred are, there is just as much (if not more) to be said for heart. Passion, emotion, raw, tangible energy–all can make just as much difference as a catchy hook or a pummeling groove. Fortunately for Fort Myers based metalcore band, Beacons (and the listener), their latest EP Complications doesn’t make you choose. Rather, Complications is, well…complicated: packed with dynamic song structure, brutally honest lyrics, crunchy grooves and punishing breakdowns, these Floridian metallers provide a little something for everyone.
There is a lot that can be said for music that can surprise the listener–especially a “-core” junkie like myself. Beacons, however, do just that. The first track of Complications whets and primes an appetite with a tantalizing, groovy breakdown with screeched, harsh vocals. But fast-forward no more than a minute into the EP’s first full track, “Complications,” and the harsh screams and pulverizing heaviness are swapped for melodic instrumentation and crooned clean vocals. Even the beginning of “Complications” itself lends the listener to believe that nothing but wave after wave of ear-shredding power await the listener. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, however, as perfectly timed moments of clarity break up the blood-lust like mentality that Beacons adhere to so steadfastly.
This isn’t to upstage the stunning, crushing brutality that comprises 85 percent of Complications. “Wolves” especially stuns the listener with grinding grooves which delve into sludgy, back-busting breakdowns. Similar to the antics found amongst metal-deathcore hybrids, Sworn In or Advocates, the persistent use of atmosphere-amplifying gimmicks, fills and effects which keep the downtuned chugging and nonstop pounding of the guitars and drums from getting monotonous. The EP’s closing track, “The Potter’s Field” is perhaps the pinnacle of Beacons’ penchant for destructive heaviness and organized, degrading chaos. Beginning at a breakneck pace and eventually lowing down to a near-stagnant stuttering breakdown, “The Potter’s Field” is a simile for Complications as a whole. Like an already-massive snowball precariously perched atop a mountainous hillside. As the EP carries on, the snowball that is Complications only picks up speed and weight, getting heavier and heavier the further into it the listener gets.
Instrumentally, Beacons deliver on the seemingly overzealous goods which Complications seems to endorse. The drums set the pace for any given portion of the EP: whether they trudge along through the guitar’s grime and filth or roar along with fills that are as fast as propeller blades, they are the pacemaker for the heart of Complications. The guitars serve as the “mood”–their tone and depth make the world of difference between the meshing, marvelous melodic harmonization or the disparaging, dark and destructive brutality that struggle back and forth across the EP’s landscape. On top of it all, the vocals reign as the figurative king. Ranging from intense highs to guttural lows, sprinkled with clean singing and–my personal favorite–the ever-enticing “blegh!” The vocals are the glue that seals Beacons’ dynamic together, and subsequently seals their fate as intriguing and worthwhile rather than boring and tedious.
Metalcore with pounding heaviness, driving harmony and a heart to match, Beacons’ breakout EP Complications is anything but simple. Rather, the weaving dynamism and stellar strong structure take multiple listens for the listener to fully comprehend. However, the fun, nearly-technical slamming brutality and catchy melody keep the listener engaged all along the winding road to complete comprehension.
For Fans Of: Sworn In, Barrier, Advocates, Kingmaker, Subtract
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism