Artist: Fault Lines
Album: 2151 – EP
You’ve spent your entire life running. From your earliest instance—the very first formulation of your memory—you’ve always been moving, unabashedly and unstoppably towards…something. You don’t know what it is, or where it is, but you know you’ll know it when you get there. It is the moral beacon that draws every fiber of your being towards some ultimate conclusion or apex of who you feel you should be and what you feel you should achieve in this life. This thing, this intangible, amorphous concept of barely-lucid perfection is 2151, the debut EP by southern smashers Fault Lines. Packed with a combination of grotesque, mutilating heaviness and catchy, soothing melodies, 2151 is a bastion of perfection standing tall above the likes of contemporary metalcore releases, as it paints a divers soundscape that will have the listener lost and wandering as if they were Alice in Wonderland.
Before the listener even has a chance to adjust themselves or prepare themselves for the stampede that is 2151, the EP strikes, knocking them clean off their feet. “Paper Trail” strikes with the speed of a lightening bolt and the power of a shotgun shell straight to the chest, kicking off with an absolute showstopper of a breakdown led by pummeling, in-your-face percussion and deep, meaty fretwork from the guitars and bass alike. While the kick drum and bass guitar smash at the writhing listener’s ribs, the fierce, bouncy cymbal work cuts incisions into their skin, slicing through the guitar’s meaty chugs and bouncy, groovy tendencies. This violent, intense onslaught isn’t isolated to the groovy, grimy bowels of “Paper Trail,” however. At several points, without warning, Fault Lines split the earth beneath the listener’s feet with sheer, unbridled heaviness—the sort of provocative, slamming breakdowns that cause earthquakes disruptive enough to level cities and dissonant enough to split the listener’s head wide open. While both the opening and concluding portions of “Paper Trail” are stellar, sound examples of this, “Dead Weight” features more than its fair share of brooding brutality—as do the interspersed instances of lacerating hatred present on “Streetwalker.”
Hand-in-hand with Fault Lines’ ability to create ferocious demons devised from dissonant, down-tuned devastation, they are also well-learned in the way of the groove. “Enabler,” as well as “King of Hearts” are jam packed with catchy fretwork that will get caught in the listener’s head and set on repeat for eons. The former is especially contagious, opening with a surreptitiously infectious riff that sneaks its way into the very gyri and sulci of the listener’s brain and refusing to come dislodged. Fault Lines are constantly impressing the listener with their uncanny ability to sneak dynamic, catchy and groovy portions in amongst their beatdown-tinted penchant for the punishingly heavy. 2151 is an example of perfectly varied yet constantly intense instrumentation. The chorus to “King of Hearts” and “Paper Trail” are two keen examples of this—as portions of bouncy, somewhat-light-hearted groove manage to sneak themselves between slices of otherwise dense, crushing musicianship and bitter, brooding lyricism.
Most unexpected of all are the moments throughout 2151 where haunting heaviness and head-bobbing groove alike are replaced with moments of surreal hyperharmonization and melody. “King of Hearts” is, without a doubt, the best example of this. Fresh off the heels of the dynamic, crushing conclusion to “Enabler,” and still close enough in proximity to “Paper Trail” to have the listener licking their wounds, “King of Hearts” is home to the band’s most diverse vocal performance, swapping out smashing, snarling and screeching styles of screams and bellows for an abundance of crooned clean vocals. Alongside this newfound vocal dynamic, there is an instrumental shift—the drums are less aggressive and bouncy, rather, they focus on smoothly laying a canvas for the scenic, rolling guitar and bouncing, throbbing bass. However, even on their most harmonized and melodic tracks, Fault Lines still manage to include one of the most technically daunting and positively crushing (yet mesmerizingly catchy) breakdowns throughout the duration of the EP—proving they are truly prodigies of the metalcore medium.
Some place, where jarring heaviness meets melody and masterful fretwork—where screeched screams and smooth singing walk hand in hand—is where Fault Lines call home. This place is 2151, an absolutely stunning breakout EP that finds itself miles ahead and above the works of Fault Lines’ peers. Wherever 2151 is, it’s certainly the street address every up-and-coming metalcore band will want to call their own.
For Fans Of: Bermuda, Whether, I, Structure, InDirections
By: Connor Welsh