Artist: My Enemies and I
Album: Sick World – EP
Humans have been misclassified as mammals since the inception of taxonomy. Mankind has more in common with tapeworms and leeches than they do with proper mammalian species. We take, take and take until there’s nothing left—and when that happens, we move on. We refuse to adapt to the looming threat of scarcity or the reality of the dwindling resources our planet has to offer. If planet earth was a person, they would be sick, infected with our sorry, surreptitious species. However, in a state of monotony and creative lethargy, there is hope—a cure for humanity’s infectious nature—to be found within the music of My Enemies and I. These Virginia s vanquish the thought of hum-drum, horrendously boring metalcore with their latest effort, Sick World. Sick World is three parts crushing, rampant aggression to one part soothing, catchy harmony; making it a release that might not reinvent metalcore’s infamous heavy-soft dynamic, but one that will certainly renovate it and give it fresh, furious life.
My Enemies and I boldly blend eerie, nu-metallic guitar tone and riffs with blunt, bone-snapping breakdowns and melodic, uplifting choruses to make Sick World truly contagious. Percussionist Ryan Ganster gives Sick World its sturdy backbone, hammering away with precise, punishing fervor. “Reborn,” as well as the aggressive, anthemic “Wolves Teeth” is especially rife with Ganster’s raunchy, ferocious percussion. Ganster is aided by Griffin Kentner’s audacious and energetic bass guitar, as his grooves wind circles around Ganster’s meaty kick drum and deep toms to give My Enemies and I a low end that’s heavier than lead and thicker than the Hoover Dam. However, Sick World’s sinister sense of cutthroat aggression is a product of the hydra-like onslaught from guitarists Ryan Hounshell and Zach Jones. To say Hounshell and Jones are severe doesn’t even begin to cover the duo’s intensity. “Reborn” goes right for the listener’s throat with an eerie riff that feels like the bastard child of Korn and The Last Ten Seconds of Life. Meanwhile, “Toxic” is infectious and lethal, with grooves and chugs that break their way into the listener’s skull and corrode their meninges. My Enemies and I provide a sharp edge that serves as a great majority of the band’s material—although, they are far from a one-trick pony.
Sick World is much more than an amalgam of aggressive riffs, heavy breakdowns and punishing percussion. For proof of this, the listener’s attention must be directed to the bitter-but subtle—“Parables.” Filled with driving, but not over-the-top percussion and laden with sparkly, catchy keys, “Parables” is the diamond hidden in Sick World’s scratchy, sinister rough. Ganster does a brilliant job of keeping the track moving, while Hounshell and Jones give it a full body and dulled fangs to dig into the listener’s flesh. This side of My Enemies and I rears its head several times throughout Sick World—like the ridiculously catchy chorus to either “Wolves Teeth” or “Toxic,” which may be more cranially invasive than Britney Spears’ hit of the same name. If the quintet’s penchant for punishing and heavy instrumentation serves as their razor sharp fangs and appetite for the listener’s flesh, then their softer, super-catchy side is the toxin that coats them, invisible to the listener until it’s far too late.
Though excellently done, My Enemies and I’s incredible instrumentation is nothing truly new to metalcore. Enter Jeff Hill, the band’s frontman and the one who gives their boundless potential tangible form. Hill is a beast, there is no other way to describe it; he is a chimera capable of shrill, screeching screams and beautiful, catchy croons. His work through “Reborn” and “Carbon Copy” is a testament to the former, as he dominates with a hefty, harsh scream that tears at the listener like a starved werewolf. However, his softer side manifests on the insidious “Parables,” a track that may favor his crooned vocals, but still features bitter, aggressive lyrics that are bound to catch countless listeners’ ears. Hill is vocal juggernaut that brings immense variety to every second of Sick World, giving it depth and meaning where it runs dangerously close to coming across as another two-dimensional lesson in metalcore’s monotony.
If Sick World is a cure for a disease, it is only a cure because it leaves nothing left for the disease to feast upon. My Enemies and I leave nothing in the tank with their lurid all-out attack on the listener, annihilating much more than their antiquated opinion of metalcore in the process.
For Fans Of: Vanities, Like Moths to Flames, Together//Alone
By: Connor Welsh