Album: This Exists Somewhere Else
We’re all looking for something greater. No matter who you are, how complacent or content with your life you might be, you’re still—on one level or another—looking for the next greatest thing; that something you’re missing. Whether it’s deep within yourself, or someplace far away, out of sight and consistently beyond your reach, you’re still striving, desperately reaching for solace.
You might never reach it. You might never even come close. It might spend year after year, decade after decade existing just beyond your grasp, but that doesn’t make you need it any less. After a while, it isn’t the object or item, person, place—whatever—that you need, it’s the constant strive. The thrill of the chase takes over the need for tangible reward.
So you just keep pushing.
That feeling of desperation—of emotion melded with manic energy, sullen spirits and the constant search for that which persists just beyond your reach—is exactly what defines the thriving, vivacious, beautifully brutalizing full-length record by Adhara, aptly titled, This Exists Somewhere Else. Taking conventional, bouncy progressive metalcore and adding heft, catchiness, atmosphere and touches of straightforward power, Adhara erupt from the depths of the East Coast with something monstrous, malicious and magnificent—something that, while maybe once existed somewhere else is now firmly within the listener’s grasp.
I’ll be the first to admit that whenever I hear the term “progressive metalcore” used—especially when it’s used in close proximity to “bounce” or “groove”–I shudder at the thought of the late-2000s djent revolution and the idea of a figurative second-wave of it.
Make no mistake—while laden with bounce and brutality, and certainly will within the more progressive vein of metalcore’s vascular roadmap, Adhara are not that band.
Percussionist Austin Zanchelli gives This Exists Somewhere Else a strong and steady backbone—a thick, meaty kick drum and explosive, bright-as-lightening snare drum that cuts through Kyle Wallace’s gritty, grisly and groovy bass with a razor-sharp slice. Songs like “Murals of the Beginning” showcase this excellently—expertly highlighting Wallace and Zanchelli oscillating back and forth between bold, brash aggression and twisting, gyrating groove. Then, there are songs like the (aptly named) monstrous “Tarantula,” and “The Vault,” which see the duo work less at dizzying patterns and more with skin-shredding, bone-busting disregard for the listener’s well-being. Here, guitarist Bryan Miller shines—especially during the breakdowns that define “The Vault,” with a stutter-start series of stellar chugs that are more than just another monotonous breakdown. Instead, they’re catchy and engaging, thick and hefty while retaining energy and a visceral, blood-thirsty nature. This is also true of other, more aggressive moments throughout This Exists Somewhere Else, just as it serves to contrast the moments of blissful calm; those found on the interlude “I Don’t Want this Dream to End,” or during the varied and diverse “Mosaics.” These songs see a different side of Miller—and of Adhara as a whole, including the atmospheric aspects of the band that put an emphasize on the poly-rhythmic, patterned progressive nature of their brand of heaviness.
Where Adhara’s instrumentation treads a fine line between bouncy, catchy groove and grisly, gritty aggression, their vocal element is decidedly at the “heftier” end of the scale. Frontman Joseph Scott is fearsome from start to finish—nothing more, nothing less. From “Murals of the Beginning,” his roars hollow out the listener’s insides, and his lyrics find a home in the listener’s beaten heart to match. While Scott’s voice is pure terror, his lyrics oscillate between the personal, introspective nature of a more emotionally inclined act to a juggernaut of immense, titanic proportions. While Scott might not have the variety of some of the band’s more technically absurd rivals, few vocalists—especially those of bands with Adhara’s relative youth—can match Scott for his deep, cavernous voice. Simply put, Scott’s screams are enormous, filling the entire track, as well as the listener’s head and hollowed-out carcass, with energy and earth-rumbling ruthlessness. Just about every song serves as an example of this—especially “The Vault” and “Tarantula.”
This Exists Somewhere Else is an adventure through space, time and the human condition—with a vector defined by devastating aggression and prodigally talented progressive prowess. A young band—but an experienced band—Adhara engage the listener from the first seconds of the album and keep things going until the very last cymbal splash and note has rung out. Scott’s voice is a monolith of power and fury—with Mills’ guitar adding intensity, technicality and groove in the backdrop, as Wallace and Zanchelli pave the ground flat beneath them with a burly, blistering low end. This might Exist Somewhere Else, but come October 6th, it needs to exist in your eardrums.
For Fans Of: Structures, The Acacia Strain, Prime Meridian, Towers
By: Connor Welsh