Artist: Bermuda (USA)
Album: The Wandering
Imagine being completely lost. Removed from everything you were once familiar with, placed in entirely new surroundings with no instruction, and even worse, no idea if you would ever find home. What would you do? Would you wander aimlessly, searching for the road that would lead you back to the familiar? Or would you begin anew, re-build your life from scratch in this unfamiliar, albeit new, habitat? Californian groove-based deathcore band Bermuda tackle this allegory not only lyrically, but musically in their debut full-length release, The Wandering, which witnesses the band oscillating between metalcore, deathcore, progressive metal and mathcore, creating their own, unique sound in the process.
Carefully crafted instrumentation is the back-bone of the towering spectacle that is The Wandering. Cleverly crafted time changes and bizarre tempos keep the listener engaged, taking what might have been otherwise standard metalcore or deathcore riffing and giving it a subtle-but-still-noticeable mathcore twist. The drums add quick fills and odd half-measures into the standard song structure while the bass rolls along with them, snapping and popping into audibility when the atmosphere calls for it. Meanwhile, the guitar rumbles overtop them, using a distinctly progressive tone, almost always straddling the border between a chuggy breakdown and a sliding groove. Alongside this guitar, another is noted, shredding and tapping out intricate riffs and high-strung, jarring panic chords, as can be heard most memorably in “Process of Drowning,” where an intense riff morphs into a slamming, squeal-ridden breakdown.
Vocally, Bermuda keep a constant stance, seated at a King-of-the-Hill status. The Wandering most frequently features a strong, beefy mid-range scream, which occasionally reaches deep, deep guttural depths. Where The Wandering sees its only slight weakness is the persistent vocal monotony. While the title track, along with lead single “Polaris Breach” are more vocally diverse, often times, entire tracks can pass by without any change in vocal tone. This crime is completely permissible, however, because of how well the vocals accompany the instrumentation, fitting perfectly in the grooves and pseudo-djent breakdowns and riffery riddling the album.
Together, the vocals and the stellar, engaging instrumentation reach a dialectic climax, giving The Wandering a complex, albeit dynamic combination of various elements from differing genres. The straightforward aggression from metalcore, the progressive, noodling guitar characteristic of prog-metal, deathcore’s penchant for the breakdown and mathcore’s insistent use of off-the-wall time signatures (hinted at by the band’s tongue-in-cheek shirt logo reading “Fuck 4/4”). All of these elements blend perfectly in Bermuda’s musical melting pot, creating a distinct, groovy sound that the band–and myself–can only seem to identify as “bounce.” Indeed, moments like “Invictus, Unconquered”’s climactic breakdown or the transition from grooving slam to slamming breakdown in “Process of Drowning” feature such amazingly grimy and deliciously groovy elements that they indeed seem to make the track–and the listener’s head–bounce.
So if you’re lost amidst the sea of copy-and-paste “-core” bands that are climbing out of the woodwork these days, wander no further. Bermuda’s The Wandering features every element of every type of modern “-core” subgenre that you’ll need–whether you’re lost in the desert, or simply want to be at a loss for words.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism