There are a million reasons people around the world make—and listen to—heavy music. It can be a cathartic expression of emotion, airing your darkest secrets before a potential audience of thousands upon thousands, telling things you wouldn’t tell your best friends to total strangers. It can be a political or social platform to evoke change and interest among the masses; a staunch soapbox to push reform. It can be a whole lot of things, but at its most rudimentary and “pure,” its vast potential can be summarized into one monosyllabic-yet-all-encompassing word:
It can be the expression of pure, powerful, pit-of-your-gut loathing—at the world, at scorned ex-lovers, at shitty friends, at yourself; it doesn’t matter. It can be a vector for vicious aggression that takes all comers, and that basic, primal appeal to our collective id is part of what makes heavy music such an awesome thing; you know it, I know it, and Edorra clearly know it with their sophomore and self-titled EP. Combining groove, atmosphere, grisly aggression and brooding introspection all into one collection of soul-crushing songs, Edorra’s self-titled release takes the likes of The Acacia Strain and Falsifier and gives it an ever-so-slightly more bouncy and emotionally-fueled candor, sending it reeling like a wrecking ball right out of Hell, straight into the listener’s head.
Edorra’s self-titled release takes the depressive tones of groove and guilt tapped by the instrumentation and songwriting on Dead City and amplifies it, adding more aggression to counterbalance the introspective and melancholy moments that Edorra took the Midwest by storm with. Just as he did with the Edorra’s formal debut, songwriter and percussionist Billy Duganne absolutely annihilates his already previously lofty standards. Duganne is solely responsible for the band’s musical turn towards gritty, ferocious aggression—heard abundantly throughout “Hang Your Head” and “An Empty Home,” both of which see Duganne’s drumming dominating with a leaden, steamrolling candor that positively flattens the listener. Duganne’s writing extends to the fretwork throughout Edorra’s self-titled release—positions currently filled by Carl Schultz and Max Smith—where the band’s eerie, enormous leads add atmosphere and a dismal sort of dense, suffocating agony over Duganne’s punchy percussion. Songs like the introductory “This is Forever” capture that aspect of the band’s style in mere seconds, while “Weep” instills the sort of suffering the song’s name might imply, striking out with sullen, somber fretwork that cuts deep, profusely gushing grooves into the listener’s flesh. All of this is amplified by thick, slinking bass—written by Duganne and played by Austin Adams—which creates a low end that adds heft to the skull-splitting chugs from Schultz and Smith and Duganne’s dynamic drumming. The band expertly oscillate between their newfound, simply bigger sound (think Black Tongue or The Acacia Strain) and Dead City‘s sharper, more precise nu-infused cuts. Dynamic and engaging—even if it doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel—Edorra’s self-titled EP is an intense display of instrumental intensity that stands to bring the listener to their knees.
Where things come full circle for Edorra and their latest release is with their vocal element. While Dead City featured guest appearances that ran the gambit from energetic, sharp and shrill screams from Devin MacGillivray (of Yuth Forever) to Tyler Shelton’s terrifying roars, this release sees much more of frontman Shawn Williams truly coming into his own. With infinitely more creative lyricism and vocal patterns that borrow subtle cues and influence from the likes of The Acacia Strain’s Vincent Bennett—especially on the album’s closing number. The point is that Williams’ voice is infinitely more mature, striking fear into the listener’s heart where needed—on “Weep”–and reaching out with open, emotionally driven lyrics and raw, unfiltered angst on “Hang Your Head.” Williams adds dynamism to the points of the album where Edorra feel complacent and somewhat standard, adding an extra punch to keep the listener interested and hold their fingers away from the pause button. Throughout the release, his range—while not enormous—is solid enough to play to Duganne’s writing and the band’s various styles of heaviness, with more than enough energy to keep up with even the quicker, groovier portions. While he may not be the next ten-ton heavyweight the heavy music game will see (at least not now), he brings passion, emotion and drive to Edorra’s dynamic that demands the listener’s respect.
While Edorra might not have changed the game, invented a new genre, or change the way the listener perceives heavy music, they did create a fun, furious, engaging and immense record that does just about everything right with precious few things wrong. If anything, it would be nice to see a little more length and substance—with many of the songs feeling bookended by transitional material and the four-and-an-intro run-time feeling a little brief. In the end, wanting more of something is a testament to the act’s skill—and the listener will surely want more from this eviscerating Ohio-based onslaught.
For Fans Of: The Acacia Strain, Black Tongue, VCTMS, God of Nothing
By: Connor Welsh