Artist: Your Memorial
Album: Your Memorial – EP
2017, moreso than any other, seems to be the “year of the comeback, with several notable acts from heavy music (especially deathcore) not just happening but actually turning out to be some of the year’s best releases. With that said, not every triumphant return has been strictly deathcore—and of the ones that aren’t, Your Memorial’s self-titled release leads the charge. Perhaps the strongest they’ve been since their immense debut, Your Memorial’s latest release stands to be one of their greatest, but also—in a truly bittersweet fashion—their final contribution to a style of dynamic, hybrid form of metalcore their albums have played a crucial role in forming. Combining moments of driving, ferocious aggression with marvelous melody and moving, ethereal tranquility all with the sort of expertise that comes only from experience and emotion, Your Memorial, is, in a way, a kind of Memorial—feeling like the whimsical, poignant, entrancing and emotionally loaded obituary that such a truly great and influential band deserves.
Your Memorials use of heaviness and melody is brilliant, avoiding the stale and predictable throes of a heavy breakdown/soft chorus wash-rinse-repeat cycle. Instead, the band spend all 20-some minutes working at making each song flow into one another, utilizing a variety of types of instrumentation to serve as a soundscape upon which a story can be told. “Degenerate” and “Regenerate” are excellent examples—mirroring each other in energy and intensity, much in thanks to percussionist Tommy Weigel, who may not be a technical powerhouse, but still finds plenty of opportunities to weave creativity and intricacy into his steadfast playing. “Degenerate,” much like “Anchor” are quick and punchy, with Weigel’s playing serving as a sturdy backbone for the band to work from—especially where guitarist Willy Weigel is concerned. While Tommy’s tremendous drumming segues from peppy portions to punishing breakdowns, Willy follows suit—truly shining when he is needed to break through Tommy’s drumming to create a still, serene moment of calm with his crystalline tones and careful playing, best heard in portions of “Embers” and “Regenerate” or “Steadfast.” All the while, Weigel’s fretwork is made heartier and heavier in thanks to amplification and thickness from bassist Mike Helms, who rumbles rambunctiously during raunchy breakdowns yet maintains calm during the softer segments the band have to offer. It might sound like Your Memorial are just another heavy-soft act—or like they’re maybe a little scattered—but the truth is that the band write and play with intent and expert transitions and organization, avoiding pitfalls of monotony and boredom that come with more generic and complacent works of their peers.
Defined by a trio of talented musicians, Your Memorial set the stage with excellent and intriguing musicianship—a stage filled out and made into a veritable tale by the lyrics and vocals of Blake Suddath. With relatable and emotionally transparent lyricism to match his raw, unfiltered and intense vocal styles, Suddath is as strong as ever on Your Memorial’s self-titled EP. “Anchors,” as well as the “Degenerate/Regenerate” pair of tracks is excellent proof of Suddath’s lyrical abilities and vocal prowess; as where he might not be a titan with Dickie Allen’s range or Ben Duerr’s absurd Control, he doesn’t aim to be, and instead brings something different to the table. Suddath harkens to the more nostalgic side of listeners, dominating with a gritty and fearsome mid-range yell that oscillates hither and to between beautiful cleanly sung segments to appeal to the listener’s emotions rather than a need for technical perfection. If that isn’t obvious by the end of “Degenerate,” it surely will once “Steadfast” rolls to a close.
Your Memorial have crafted an album that has appeal transcending fans of their previous works. Sure, those who have been listening since their early works will appreciate the evolution in sound (without sacrificing their feel), however even individuals who have never even heard of the group before will be sure to find something they can fall in love with where Your Memorial’s final offering is concerned. Blending aggression, energy and emotion into an comprehensive, creative and fun experience, Your Memorial’s self titled release is an album that, for fans new or old, will certainly become a centerpiece in the group’s discography.
For Fans Of: The Ghost Inside, Hands, Misery Signals
By: Connor Welsh