REVIEW: We Gave It Hell – We Gave It Hell [EP/2016]

WGIH

Artist: We Gave It Hell 

Album: We Gave It Hell – EP

 

There is something satisfying about dedicating the absolute totality of your effort to an endeavor. Even if the end result is failure, there is still solace to be found in the fact that you couldn’t have tried harder—this is as true of a physical endeavor or a sport as it is of making music, and when it comes to the latter, Las Vegas metalcore act We Gave It Hell certainly couldn’t have put any more of themselves into their latest record. Sounding like a slightly more aggressive and downtuned Northlane, We Gave It Hell’s self-Titled record is speedy, soothing and sinister in all the right amounts. Pummeling breakdowns, catchy grooves and moments of breathe-taking ambience coalesce into a wondrously diverse sophomore effort—an instance in which this young quartet did, indeed Give It Hell, with an end result far from failure

Instrumentally, We Gave It Hell sucker punch the listener with a slightly heavier take on the style of progressive metalcore made famous by Northlane or Volumes, spiced up with an intangible heat that is best described as uniquely southwestern. Their latest EP is filled to the brim with dancy, quick two-steps and spine-shrinking breakdowns, finished with segments of stellar, sublime ethereality that give the listener’s ears a break from the band’s energetic dynamic. Percussionist Parker Adsit leads the charge on the album opener “LVE,” taking the helm when it comes to dictating the speed and aggression levels of every track. “LVE,” as well as the punishing closing number “Self-Resistance” are highlight reels of Adsit’s skills behind the kit; with the former showing off dizzying fills and the latter demonstrating technically pristine footwork. However, Adsit’s more mellow drumming on “Bitter/Sweet”—as well as his supremely subtle work on “Conversations at the Edge”—give guitarists Adam Garcia and Drew Guerrero more room to shine. When it comes to the band’s prominent channeling of bands like Volumes, Periphery and other progressive metalcore brethren, Adsit’s drumming is simply a canvas for the works of Garcia and Guerrero. From the dissonant chugs and djent-tinted grooves on “LVE,” the influence is clear—as the duo keep the track moving along quickly, slowing only for the occasional cleanly-sung bridge or crushing breakdown, with “Conversations at the Edge” being the solitary exception. Here, the duo harmonize with clean, crisp tones throughout the majority of the track—setting a mellow and atmospheric mood with straightforward instrumentation. It is with “Conversations at the Edge” that We Gave It Hell prove they’re more than just another Chug-friendly groovy metalcore band (even if the song itself tends to drag on longer than might be necessary).

With a musical canvas that ranges from intense and aggressive to clean and crisp, We Gave It Hell utilize the sprawling vocal range of frontman Taylor Adsit to their advantage, bringing their progressive metalcore dynamic full-circle. Kicking off “LVE” with roaring, harsh mid-range yells, yet bursting into crooning clean vocal choruses and bridges when the instrumentation allows, Adsit’s vocals are a strong compliment to We Gave It Hell’s musicianship. While most harsh vocalists with an impressive range—which Adsit truly has—lack a strong singing voice, Adsit doesn’t have this problem. “Conversations at the Edge” is evidence: as the listener can go through the entire track a multitude of times without growing tired or weary of Adsit’s clean singing. Tracks like “Bitter/Sweet” bring both parts together excellently, showcasing some of his most well-rounded screaming while still taking the time to include brief spats of singing where they fit. Adsit’s strong lyricism and fluid range give the listener even more to love about We Gave It Hell, even as some of his cleanly sung portions are predictable and formulaic.

We Gave It Hell’s latest EP has moments where it is truly spontaneous and creative—like the closing breakdown to “LVE,” or the bouncy, fun candor of “Self-Resistance.” However, those times are often contrasted with moments that seem straight out of the metalcore playbook. “Finite” is guilty of this—with a large majority of the twists and turns taken in the songs obvious enough to be seen well in advance. This doesn’t make the band’s latest release less fun, but it does lessen the replay value: too often does We Gave It Hell’s heavy/soft dynamic seem like it’s been heard before, or at the very least, easy to see coming. Because of this, listeners might find themselves with diminishing returns after three or four listens—except, of course, for the thoroughly riotous opening track, or the raunchy duo that conclude the release. We Gave It Hell truly gave it hell—and with another year to refine and build upon their strong dynamic, they might find themselves becoming a household name.

8/10

For Fans Of: Volumes, Northlane, Words from Aztecs, Periohery, Attack Attack!

By: Connor Welsh