Album: Thin Line – EP
Some things in life exist in shades of grey—they are neither A nor B, black nor white. They’re amorphous, dependent on context for a true definition. The most important things, though, are not. Those things which make the biggest impact in our day to day lives are either one thing or another—it is or isn’t, A or B, never both. You’re either alive or dead, worthless or worthwhile. These are things that have stood as laws of nature since the dawn of human consciousness—until Florida-based metalcore act Lordis entered the picture. On their debut EP, Thin Line, the band obfuscate the division between more than just genres. With their combination of catchy, low grooves and bold, harsh aggression, Lordis blur the lines between life and death, worth and refuse—as, for a band who label themselves as Human Filth, they will certainly become a treasure of Florida’s packed heavy music scene.
Lordis’ musicianship is, in the simplest sense, uniquely Floridian. Neither whole-heartedly metalcore, nor slow and heavy enough to truly classify as a downtempo Deathcore act, the quartet do for nu-metalcore what Florida heavyweights Beacons did for the genre’s more straightforward brother. Built on a foundation of Draven Powell’s punishing, bouncy percussion, Thin Line takes nu-metal influenced hardcore and beefs it up, figuratively putting the genre on a diet of McDonald’s and cake until it’s aptly chunky. Powell’s drumming serves as the band’s baseline—as his work on “Grave” is a rather muted, restrained example of his talent, where “The Dull End” and “Hangman” see his skills skyrocket—particularly his footwork. Here, Powell works with bassist Patrick Dowling to provide a ruthless low end—one that is especially prominent on “Hangman” and the climactic, crushing breakdown therein. While “Hangman” and “The Dull End” highlight the band’s hefty, heavy percussion and bass, album opener “Grave” as well as the release’s title track display the groove-tinted talent of guitarist Mike Clampitt. Clampitt creatively oscillates between chill-inducing, nu-styled effects and riffs and bold, grisly grooves—peppering each with punchy, raunchy breakdowns. While no individual musician reinvents the wheel instrumentally, the trio of sturdy songwriters work together to provide a crushing, cohesive and completely fun experience that easily catches the ears of any heavy music enthusiast.
Lordis’ canvas of more-than-capable chunky nu-metalcore serves as a stellar medium for the bitter, manic moans of frontman Brandon Thomas. Thomas’ shouts and screams may not jump out at the listener with their range or variety, but they do appeal to the listener with bitter, grating emotional sincerity. Thomas holds his own with the legendary Devin MacGillivray on “Grave” and goes on to continue a journey into his perverse and tormented psyche throughout Thin Line. “Dull End” feels like a natural continuation of album opener “Grave”—feeding into “Hangman,” a track that sees Thomas truly shine. Where his aggravated mid-range shout begins to wear on the listener, he switches things up with a grisly bellow towards “Hangman”’s conclusion—capturing their attention with a harsh low scream that piques the listener’s interest effortlessly (and makes them wish Thomas would employ it more often). Thomas’ vocal expertise is analogous to Lordis’ musicianship—an upgraded take on nu-metalcore that does more than catch the listener’s attention; rather, it holds it captive throughout Thin Line’s entirety.
Lordis’Thin Line is an outstandingly solid listen that is pushed just barely into the realm of excellence in light of the fact that it happens to be their debut. Falling prey to slight monotony and losing energy towards the end with a cool but unnecessary interlude, the band’s breakout EP is comprised of four furious tracks that keep the listener’s pulse pounding and head banging. A mashup of malevolent, manic depression and groovy, grisly intensity, Thin Line defies simple classification and, instead, demands to be heard before heavy music enthusiasts can make a judgement call about its content. In a time where fresh faces in heavy music have to work twice as hard as established acts to hold onto the listener’s attention, Lordis have proven their worth as an act that should be paid careful attention in the months to come.
For Fans Of: Barrier, Victims, Yüth Forever, We Have Been Compromised
By: Connor Welsh