REVIEW: Anchors Overboard – Beacon [EP/2013]


Artist: Anchors Overboard

Album: Beacon – EP


You don’t need me to tell you this, but I’m going to anyways: life is hard. Every day, there are countless obstacles standing tall in your way, erected even before you arise from your bed—standing there, petulantly waiting to keep you from your goal. Ranging from trivial to troublesome and severe, these obstacles drag down at your attempts for progression—weighing heavy from your shoulders and arms like anchors pulling you to the depths of human depravity. It takes true courage—veritable moral fortitude—to overcome these trials and tribulations; fortitude like that found in the debut EP by Anchors Overboard, Beacon. A guiding light of blissful strength and courage in a world of dark, dismal depression, Beacon is a collection of songs drawing from the band’s collective struggles, fueled by aggression and perseverance enough to push even the most worn-down and withered soul to accomplish anything they set their mind to.

Beacons begins with a punchy, no-holds-barred immersion into the realm of emotional hardcore and hard-hitting metalcore. Dynamic, soaring melodies roar overheard while pulse-pounding percussion and raw, gritty vocals attack the listener. “Taking Chances” is one such track—tom-heavy percussion and blistering, battering bass drum rumble like an earthquake beneath the ethereal, pseudo-blissful guitar work that shines overtop. It isn’t until the vocals kick in—a gritty, mid-range yell—that the song shifts and takes on a much more aggressive candor. With lyrics that highlight friends, family and frustration, “Taking Chances” reaches out and fondles the listener’s heartstrings with belligerent honesty and straightforward truth. “Beacon,” the EP’s self-titled track is another track that combines frenzied, energetic drumming with a floating, atmospherically fretted introduction. However, both these tracks, “Taking Chances” and “Beacon,” also highlight the band’s penchant for the heavy—where their melodic, emotional hardcore takes a turn for something darker.

While it’s nice to think that it only takes positivity and emotion to push through life’s obstacles, this simply isn’t true. Sometimes, when politeness and positivity fall by the wayside, the only thing left is force. This force manifests itself in Anchors Overboard’s hard-hitting, deathcore influences, which are especially prevalent in the conclusion to “Dias Malos” (largely due to the vocals of Aaron Garcia of Seditionist) and portions of “Taking Chances.” While “Taking Chances” is bookended by pure, uncut hardcore and metalcore, it is sprinkled with technical percussion and deep, downtuned fretwork that gives it a certain density. Likewise, “Dias Malos” begins with technical, yet melodic fretwork and oddly timed, bouncy percussion, but takes the listener on a journey—much like the one discussed in the song’s lyrics—to a dark and destructive side of the band’s influences. As the rabbit hole goes deeper and deeper, the pressure building on the listener grows and grows until it is finally released with the explosively climactic breakdown, featuring Garcia’s low-down-and-dirty vocal assault; a welcome change from the gritty, yet vaguely monotonous vocals prevalent throughout the remainder of the release.

Anchors Overboard shatter the chains and weights holding the listener down with their winding, passionate hardcore and dense, aggressive deathcore influences that provide a unique and immersive listening experience. While the interlude “In Remission” is a serene and surreptitious break from the emotional onslaught that comprises the majority of Beacons, the remaining duration of the release is a complete firestorm of passion and fury. The simple truth is that even when there is some questionable mixing on some portions of the release, and there is an aforementioned vague presence of vocal monotony, so few bands are capable of doing what Anchors Overboard do on Beacons that these are more than forgivable. If anything, the belligerent, persevering vocal tone used throughout the release mimics the band’s call for perseverance and moral fortitude brought up in the lyrics. “Losing Motivation” is a track that addresses this almost directly, as is “Taking Chances.” Both of these tracks speak with no-holds-barred honesty about the sort of strength this world requires to even survive—and it is no doubt that Anchors Overboard have this requisite strength and refuse to compromise it in any fashion—be it succumbing to forced and uninspired vocals or unoriginal, copy-and-paste instrumentation. The simple truth is that everything on Beacons comes from the heart, and it isn’t hard to tell.

When it seems all too tempting to just…give up, there is redemption and inspiration to be found. Whether it’s finding the spare change you need to get a coke and power through your afternoon, or building up the courage and digging deep to quit your dead-end day job and make something of your life, there is always a shining light to be found glowing deep within the human spirit—a will to succeed and carry on. This where there’s a will attitude is abound in Beacons, which is Anchors Overboard’s broadcast to the world—a broadcast which will shine on and inspire up-and-coming melodic-hardcore-turned-deathcore acts across the globe to push harder and stronger to make a name for themselves.



For Fans Of: Beacons, Hold Your Own, Silence, Submissioner, Dead End Path

By: Connor Welsh