Album: Twentyone Eightythree
Imagine a limitless ocean. Clouds phasing in and out overhead, giving yield to equal parts sublime sunlight and torrential downpour—the sun and moon each wreaking their own respectable havocs on the tide. Ships are tossed about like rubber duckies in a toddler’s bath—the scenario is tumultuous to say the very least. However, within this off-kilter whirlwind environment, there is serenity and calm. Every storm has an “eye,” which keeps things in even the most tedious of balance. This situation is exactly like the one presented on Twentyone Eightythree, the debut EP by New York’s rising metalcore star, Edenborn. Loaded with soul-smothering heaviness and dynamic songwriting, Twentyone Eightythree brilliantly strides the delicate line between crushing aggression and brilliant melody with the speed and ferocity of a freight train, but the attention to detail of a veteran ballerina.
Twentyone Eightythree begins with a view of the storm from afar—distant, crashing waves and luminous bolts of lightning clash against moments of ethereal calm. Things look as if they’re painted in a portrait or photographed from a distance. However, this lasts only for a second, as “Tali Vas Normandy” rapidly cracks the listener’s skull against a boulder like a wave cracking the hull of an aged wooden ship—jarring riffs collide and pound against thundering, booming percussion. While this instrumental maelstrom ravages the listener’s head, the vocals do the same—harsh yells grate and pound against the listener’s brain with a ferocity that would strike fear into the hearts of even the saltiest sea dog. “Halloween Gets a Headshot” wages a similar attack—beginning with an almost twinkly riff which snakes its way into the listener’s head, but rapidly morphing into an all-cannons-firing dogfight with the listener’s sanity. “The Undisputed Warlord of the Earth,” however, is where Edenborn are at their most vicious—using jarring squeals and harmonics alongside furiously fretted riffs and dense, lachrymating breakdowns, this track highlights the stormy sea that is Twentyone Eightythree.
However, within every squall, there is solace—the same can be said for Twentyone Eightythree. Almost every track, no matter how pulverizing it gets or intense it begins, reaches a point where the storm breaks and the listener is granted peace. This is true in the marvelous climax of “Halloween Gets a Headshot,” where clean, beautifully harmonized vocals launch at the listener from out of (what seems like) nowhere, lifting them up and transporting them out of their stormy surroundings. “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone (Take This!)” uses a similar tactic, punctuating the heavy, straightforward aggression of the track with moments of ethereal calm which absolve the listener of the bruises and broken bones they might have suffered throughout the short, but sturdy EP. All the while, where it might seem as if the vocal shifts are the only things creating the change in pace throughout Twentyone Eightythree, this is far from true. Yes, the vocals tend to indicate where the storm will break into sunlight, but Edenborn’s perfectly harmonized and synchronized changes in instrumentation dictate how and to what degree these changes occur—this can be seen in the subtle shifts throughout “Tali Vas Normandy,” or the drastic shift at the get-go of “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone (Take This!)”
The instrumental and vocal synchronization shows just how prodigal Edenborn are for a band in a genre as overcrowded as metalcore. Few bands can change pace so readily and smoothly as these young musicians, let alone do so in a convincing manner which never lapses into the “cheesy” or “corny” realms. True enough—Twentyone Eightythree isn’t quite long enough to allow the band to falter, but, ultimately, this plays to their advantage. Their breakout EP is just long enough to give the listener a reason to follow them—it provides hooky melodies and hard-hitting heaviness which is brilliantly and tactfully done so as to prevent the listener from getting bored before the band even has a chance to build up their discography. In this respect, yes, Edenborn are baiting the listener—but if this is baiting, then the listener should indeed have no problem being the fish. Twentyone Eightythree is proof that even the shortest storms can destroy sturdy docks, while even the briefest glimmers of sunlight are enough to provide solace—it also proves that being able to balance between the two is all that is takes for an effective, marvelous and beautiful stalwart of Mother Nature to be established.
I know I have a bad habit of hyping up young bands—but Edenborn are one who will veritably not simply take the world by storm, but transform the world into one. With hurricanes of devastating heaviness, monsoons of crushing technicality and sunspots of sheer solace and Edenic bliss, Twentyone Eightythree is a release which shows a band sailing solo towards a brighter—and close—tomorrow.
For Fans Of: Those Are Them, Left Behind, The Last of Our Kind, Volumes
By: Connor Welsh