REVIEW: Advocates – The Complex Truth [EP/2016]


Artist: Advocates 

Album: The Complex Truth – EP


One of mankind’s most rudimentary psychological defense mechanisms is a bipolar view of the world—commonly called splitting. Put simply, splitting means to view the world in black and white—as a series of extremes or opposing poles with no middle ground. No “maybe,” no “in between.” While it’s most commonly viewed as something negative or immature, think about it for a second—think about how much simpler life would be.

But “black” and “white” and simple “wrong/right” dichotomies isn’t how the world we live in works. Our lives are in a constant state of change—our world is one of dynamic flux. Sometimes, things are good—but sometimes, they get worse, and they can stay that way for a long time. New Zealand-turned-Australian metalcore outfit Advocates know this, and their latest EP, The Complex Truth, is the sound of a band that doesn’t just know what it is to have struggled, but have lived and grown through it. Equal parts contagiously catchy and cruel, crushing aggression, metalcore may be a slight misnomer for how magnificently murky and brooding this Australian onslaught can get; as The Complex Truth is just as much twisting, churning, insidiously innovative intensity as it is straightforward, skull-splitting heaviness.

Instrumentally, Advocates don’t adhere themselves to a single style or canned sound. They are unapologetically themselves, incorporating brilliantly bouncy and sharp nu-metallic influences on faster-paced and lacerating cuts like “Beaten” only to thoroughly drown the listener’s senses of happiness and sanity with comprehensively oppressive tracks along the lines of “Detriment” or “Choke.” Much of this dynamic and rambunctious energy comes from percussionist Simon Webby—who batters away with bombastic, explosive candor yet technically immaculate precision to create the metered and masterful drumming that serves as The Complex Truth‘s heartbeat. “Choke,” the album’s jaw-dropping introduction instantly piques the listener’s interest in Webby’s bouncy and creative drumming—while his work with bassist Justin West on “Beaten” adds a hefty, meaty feel to the song that keeps the more nu-infused segments heavy and harsh. Together, West and Webby are a dynamic dream team—making heavy segments truly heavy, yet never sounding lethargic or dull while doing so. While West and Webby do a wondrous job of eviscerating the listener with hellish heaviness on their own, the truly gut-wrenching and grisly aggression prevalent on The Complex Truth—and the reason it’s more than just another copy-paste metalcore album—comes from guitarists David Smythe and Mason Hine. Smythe and Hine draw from a cornucopia of influences; dismal, death metal and deathcore-laced darkness on “Choke” and the utterly groovy “Martyr” are exemplary enough, while “Beaten” and “The Bitter End” will find themselves appealing to fans of more modern nu-metalcore acts in the vein of Sworn In, Barrier or yesteryear’s Darke Complex. While never over the top with their technical prowess, Smythe and Hine keep things fresh and furious for the duration of Advocates’ EP—keeping up with Webby while doing more than their fair share of innovating, forcing the listener to swallow pound after pound of punishing intensity while doing so.

With countless elements—ranging from rampant aggression to cunning and cutthroat groove—Advocates might sound as if their dynamic is scattered across the board. In part, this is true; there is a lot going on over The Complex Truth‘s complex seven tracks. Fortunately, the emotion and energy of it all is channeled effortlessly (or what sounds effortless) through frontman Detlyn Raven. Raven’s roars are ruthless to say the least; as they range from screeching, shrill screams and strung-out shouts on “Detriment” to bitter, grisly growls on “Choke” and “The Bitter End.” Raven even shines working along up-and-comer Jack Bergin from fellow Australian metalcore act Void of Vision and the practically legendary Landon Tewers (of The Plot in You) both—showing that while the extra voices are a welcome addition, they are just that: additions. Raven’s raunchy, raucous voice, self-deprecating, depressive or just straight-up derisive lyricism and bitter, brooding vocal style that captures cruel, murderous intent and crushing, despair-driven dismal self-loathing both simply shine throughout The Complex Truth, and just about every song is exemplary of it.

It’s been a long time coming since we’ve heard from Advocates—with several people (myself included, at times) wondering if the band were even still creating music. With the release of The Complex Truth, the answer is a resounding yes. The band rip and roar with all cylinders ablaze, tearing the listener’s psyche into shreds smaller and more colorful than confetti. While there are segments of certain songs (“Destructive Tendencies” more than any others) that might come across as “trendy” when compared to the remainder of the unique and unrelenting effort put forth by the band, it still sees them slaving away to create something that stops at nothing to bring the listener to their knees. The Complex Truth is the juggernaut of jarring, catchy and crushing power that Mindless deserved—making it a simple choice to pick up and listen to.



For Fans Of: Sworn In, The Plot In You, Barrier, The Sign of Four, Apate

By: Connor Welsh