Artist: Despite My Deepest Fear
Album: Selfish Generation – EP
When I was a teenager, someone told me something that has stuck with me for a long time: what you fear isn’t what defines you. It’s what you do to overcome your fear that illustrates the man you are. Even though it’s cliché, and may as well be a fortune from a stale fortune cookie, it’s proven time and time again to be a useful mantra to help me face adversity. Ultimately it comes down to one of two choices: action or inaction, and UK metalcore outfit Despite My Deepest Fear certainly choose action. True enough—Selfish Generation doesn’t do much to break free of the generic shackles that restrain the band—but it is a fun, energetic display of moving, emotional and entertaining metalcore that fans of the genre will almost certainly find respite in.
Instrumentally, Despite My Deepest Fear align themselves with the fast-paced, filler-free nature of Like Moths to Flames, with hints of softer, more atmospheric touches that give the band a melodic and tastefully catchy edge. There are a lot of ways one could write off this London sextet, but dull definitely isn’t one of them. Percussionist Toby Barnswarda keeps Selfish Generation soaring along with fun, fill-friendly drumming that oscillates from quick and punchy to slow and steamrolling. “F.Y.F.” Is an excellent display of the latter—packed with groovy, gritty breakdowns that see Barnswarda bludgeoning the listener with thick, rich kick drum hits, as “Long Way Home” sees him combining both brutalizing breakdowns and bouncy grooves, allowing for an excellent interplay with bassist Julian Murray. Murray works masterfully with Barnswarda’s booming percussion, coating his kick drum with low, rumbling chugs during breakdowns like those in “F.Y.F.” And “Stranded,” while roaming fluidly and freely with bounce and bulk during “Long Way Home” and the peppy intro, “Selfish Generation.” Atop Barnswarda’s belligerent hammering and Murray’s low grooves, guitarists Arron Yarrow and Olly Meager dominate with a blend of pointed, aggressive metallic riffing and low, dissonant chugs—filled out with moments of serene, sharp leads that lend atmosphere and emotion to Despite My Deepest Fear’s dynamic. The EP’s title track is an excellent example of this—with leads from Yarrow and grooves from Meager battling back and forth throughout the entire song, only to end in a crippling, bass-heavy and bone-snapping breakdown. Yarrow and Meager do a solid job of keeping things mixed up throughout Selfish Generation—however even as the tracks are entertaining and energetic, they fail in being truly memorable.
Selfish Generation would fail to live up to its solid-but-standard metalcore label if there wasn’t a heavy/soft dynamic established by harsh, grating screams and soothing clean singing. Despite My Deepest Fear manifest this metalcore requirement with the efforts of frontmen Ryan Endacott and Nick Nowak. Together, Endacott and Nowak cover practically the entire spectrum of human emotion with their combined vocal prowess. With grisly, low bellows—exemplary on the EP’s title track—and soft, crooned clean signing on “Long Way Home” and other choruses throughout the release, Endacott and Nowak do justice to Despite My Deepest Fear’s sound musicianship. “F.Y.F.” Sees the duo experimenting with higher-than-normal levels of aggression, while “Long Way Home” and “Infinite” are more well-rounded tracks with bouts of catchy clean vocals working as choruses. Endacott and Nowak battle back and forth, working in dialectic harmony to add depth to Selfish Generation, and while they may not redeem it from the predictable and relatively generic dynamic the band has established instrumentally, their efforts remain a highlight for not just their work, but for the genre as a whole.
It may sound harsh, and even as Despite My Deepest Fear do “it” better than many of their peers, they are still firmly relegated to the realm of the generic, when it comes to metalcore. With a splash of atmosphere and melodic nature, contrasted by moments of murderous heaviness and raunchy, neck-snapping groove, Selfish Generation is a solid outing, but little more. Those who consider themselves avid fans of metalcore may contest this—finding more to love than the average heavy music enthusiast—but for the fairweather fan of furious music, Selfish Generation struggles to stand out. This isn’t without hope, however: instances where the sextet step outside their comfort zone (“F.Y.F.,” for example) see them switching things up and catching the listener’s ear with enormous result. These moments where the band fight their fears, as it were, are where they reap the greatest reward for their hard work—meaning there’s no reason to write Despite My Deepest Fear yet.
For Fans Of: Like Moths to Flames, Sirena, The Plot in You, Architects
By: Connor Welsh