Album: Naivety – EP
In the undying face of adversity and struggle, there needs to be an impetus—a reason to tolerate the mires and heaps of never-ending pain and ache. There simply needs to be a reason to carry on and turn the negative energy boiling inside you into positive change—without such a reason, the human race simply couldn’t sustain itself. It simply couldn’t exist. What is this driving force? This pedal-to-the-metal tour-de-force that has enough unquaking energy to turn even the bitterest hate into the most positive energy? It is Naivety—the long awaited EP from New Jersey’s legendary melodic deathcore act Existence. Naivety is the raw, unfaltering belief that the world as it exists now is different from the world as it should exist. It is raw, boundless aggression and energy manifesting itself in the form of intricately written, insanely heavy yet stunningly melodic deathcore that will weave its way inside the listener’s ribcage and force their heart to beat harder than it ever has before.
Two things strike the listener about Naivety right from the get-go: its startlingly short length, and its remarkable intensity. These two aspects go hand in hand. Naivety is like a sauna—a smothering, intense experience that will force blood from the listener’s pores as if it were sweat. Existence thrive on the brevity of their release because it is simply too volatile to linger among the listener for any great period of time—this is especially true of the EP’s instrumentation.
Naivety is home to a broad, diverse array of instrumental attacks that grapple with the listener’s sanity and wage on war on their mind. Even the brief introductory track, “Checkmate,” wastes no time in assaulting the listener with slightly under a minute of pure, suffocating intensity. Beefy, slaughter-house style guitar tone and pummeling, incessant percussion go straight for the listener’s chest, tearing it open for the riffs and intricacy of the following tracks to weave their way inside. The EP’s self titled track especially does this, with serpentine, slithering riffs that pair beautifully with remarkable, ethereal moments of atmosphere that soar above the listener. However—in an Icarus-influence manner—these moments of intangible atmosphere can only last so long and can only soar so high before they are sent plummeting earthwards, crushing the listener with two tons worth of bounce-filled, groove-laden heaviness that matches the raw energy of the percussion and the dynamic, driving vocals that go along for the ride.
Vocally, Existence are just diverse enough to catch the listener’s ear. “Pay Attention” exemplifies this brilliantly, forcing the listener to do just that and pay carful attention to the raw dynamism behind vocalist Charles Connalion’s gruff shouts and visceral screams. Likewise, when the track sprouts wings and soars skywards, the listener’s ears follow, in perfect tune with the interplay between Connalion’s vocal work and the gracious, gut-wrenchingly beautiful guitar work—only to be brought back into harsh reality when bass-heavy fretwork and punchy, deep percussion pull the listener down to earth. All the while, the vocals are punctual, keeping in time with the instrumentation and never losing candor.
Ultimately, there is no ignoring the fact that Naivety is an oasis of deathcore perfection—a brief and volatile oasis. Just as the listener truly finds themselves immersing themselves in Existence’s truly masterful song structure and intense, intimate dynamic—boom—the EP is over and it’s time to play it again. True—the EP is so energetic that if it ran for much longer, it would risk burning out and getting dull, but, that isn’t to say it couldn’t do with some expansion. Ultimately, Naivety is just as incredible as it is frustrating to fans of the band’s debut release—as Naivety taunts and teases the listener as much as it placates them.
Pushing from the quagmires of the human condition—pulsating and pumping life force into deathcore as a whole—Naivety beats loud and strong above the roar of Existence’s peers. While it is ultimately all-too-brief, Naivety shows the listener what it means to take the negativity brewing inside them and turn it into a relentless force of pure change.
For Fans Of: Seditionist, Oceano, Pledge This!, Towers
By: Connor Welsh