Artist: The Gloom in the Corner
Album: Homecoming – EP
Have you ever spent a term or summer abroad? Maybe moved away from where you were raised for school, work, or even just a change of scenery? I have—and even in relocating upwards of two thousand miles away from the place I was born, I still couldn’t bring myself to call my new surroundings “home.” It isn’t that I didn’t love where I moved or that I was unhappy with the location—it’s just that it wasn’t home; there’s more to that than four walls and a neighborhood. But no matter how fondly you hold those memories of home—how deeply traced the roads and streets are into your brain, to a point where they’re as much a part of you as your own blood, things change. No amount of fond memory or immaculate recall can change that.
And depending on how long you’ve been gone, you might not even recognize the places you’ve worked so hard to ingrain in your memory.
This was certainly the case when I revisited Australian nu-infused metalcore act The Gloom in the Corner. While their debut album, Fear Me, was a commendable and conceptually driven release that took many parts of the worldwide heavy music community by storm, I found myself an outcast, completely failing to really get into it. However, upon the release of Homecoming’s lead single, “13-6 (Paramour),” I could barely recognize the band’s sound, and I fell head over heels for their new dynamic. Sharp, aggressive and intense without sacrificing intelligence and creativity, Homecoming sees The Gloom in the Corner creating something truly excellent and unique, drawing influences from across the heavy music spectrum to enthrall the listener.
From the first seconds of “Rodent” and the opening salvos of “Brother,” The Gloom in the Corner hit as hard with Homecoming as the M-16 pictured on the album art might imply. Instrumentally violent and bombastic while maintaining catchy grooves and sneakily scattered hip-hop and trap influences (“Brother” sees this in spades), Homecoming is a hectic and unique record. Built by a solid and stellar firmament of floor-shaking percussion, songs like “Brother” and “War” flow beautifully into one each other using grisly, groovy and thick bass tones as an aid. The band’s low end, generally speaking, is well-developed throughout Homecoming, giving the band’s explosive breakdowns density and heft, while the quicker and groovier portions are still meaty and bouncy as the band’s bass and drums meld beautifully and form a conversational dialectic with the fleet fretwork from the sharp and intrusive guitars. The short-but-sweltering and infernal closing track, “Witch Hunt” is an excellent example of this: the percussion is fast and loaded with fills that keep the listener’s head busy, while the bass and guitars work together to thoroughly oppress every notion of ethereality the band might have previously presented. Homecoming is an improvement in just about every way over Fear Me, and the band’s musical talents are just the first of many aspects that support this.
Vocally, Homecoming is less plagued by odd and unnecessary interludes than it’s predecessor and much stronger and more aggressive with its use of styles and dynamics. In short, “Rodent” and “Brother” do an excellent job of summarizing the entirety of The Gloom in the Corner’s sprawling styles throughout the EP. “Rodent” is a ruthless and go-for-the-throat vocal display of power, wherein low growls segue into shrill screams and harsh, belted mid-range yells—while “Brother” uses touches of depressive hip-hop flow and pitched, half-yelled, half-sung vocals that bring the track to its climactic and eerie breakdown. Finally, “Witch Hunt” shows off the vocal talents of Gift Giver’s Justin Johnson—with a manic and ruthless attack that stands stronger than a majority of his own band’s previous release. Where The Gloom in the Corner stepped up their game musically, they did even more so with their vocal efforts and subsequent lyricism, continuing the conceptual foray that began with Fear Me, using more diversity and dedication to the theme to truly drive it home.
I don’t mean to spend the entire article bashing Fear Me—after all, it wasn’t an inherently bad release as much as it was boring. Homecoming changes that up, cutting the superfluous sections and delivering a concentrated dose of devastation straight into the listener’s head—be it the soothing but eerie ending to “War,” the whirlwind found within “13-6” or the cutthroat cruelty of “Witch Hunt”—not to forget the opening two tracks which set the pace for the entire album. The Gloom in the Corner have grown from an act that could be relegated to…well, the corner, to a band that deserves center stage praise and attention for their ingenuity and intensity both.
For Fans Of: Apate, Alpha Wolf, VCTMS,