REVIEW: Born a New Emerge Tougher Than Ever with Dura Vita EP [2020]

Artist: Born a New

Album: Dura Vita – EP

            Dura is one of the most versatile root words transferred from Latin into common English. As a neurologist, the first thing that comes to mind is the dura mater—the tough fibrous coating that covers the brain. However, dura, in one form or another, exists elsewhere and is abundant throughout day-to-day conversation. Something can be durable, or someone can endure immense adversity. Additionally, If you do a quick google search, it pulls up one of Daddy Yankee’s 2018 singles of the same name—which, in keeping with the root of the word, it pretty hard. Meaning tough, resilient or thick, Dura has been adapted into several common words as detailed above; and all of them apply to the new EP by metalcore rising stars Born a New. Dura Vita is a tough-as-nails, no-bullshit, take-no-prisoners approach to raw, ruthless metalcore. Bouncy, bold and brazen throughout, Born a New provide ten scathing minutes of riff-driven, breakdown-laden and groove-tinted power that serves as a short-but-sweet testament to the band’s versatility and position of power within a crowded genre.

            Starting somewhere between 2016 and 2018, metalcore’s major attributes turned from highly produced, flashy and overbearing to gritty, aggressive and punchy. For the most part, that schism remains in effect, with a majority of bands adopting one over the other—however, Born a New find themselves aligned within a somewhat narrow spectrum of metalcore acts that take the smooth, polished finish of the former and blend it beautifully with the aggression and energy of the latter. The drums—edited and engineered by Matt Guglielmo and brought to life by Born a New’s resident percussionist Tyler Saczawa—are nothing short of perfect. “World_of_Black” highlights an incredible blend of dancy, bouncy footwork and fast, technically savvy fills, while “whentheresnobullettobite” features percussion that hits like a freight train from the first second and keeps on hitting. “World_of_Black,” in particular, sees Born a New’s drumming working side by side with low, luscious and girthy grooves from bassist Kyle Pinder. Pinder and Saczawa have previously proven themselves as a duo to be weary of on Eternal Isolation—but now, on Dura Vita, the duo are a duo to be respected (if not feared). They are incredibly capable of creating a ruthless, raunchy low end that doesn’t get weighed down by its own thickness—and instead, flows smoothly and transitions effortlessly from punchy breakdown to pummeling two-step. Much of this fluidity is intrinsic to their skill—but much of it is also to be credited with the masterful fretwork from guitarist Tyler Mateychick. Mateychick effortlessly crafts fury-inducing fight-riffs that rip right into gut-churning grooves without skipping a beat. Likewise, his ability to amplify the bounce and aforementioned girth of Pinder’s bass tone in Born a New’s brutalizing breakdowns is nothing short of incredible. “6ft.deep” is incredible evidence of this, where immolating leads and immersive breakdowns shine, in great thanks to the song’s fretwork. Mateychick—along with Pinder, Saczawa and Guglielmo—make Born a New’s performance on Dura Vita something truly special.

            Eternal Isolation truly clued the heavy music community in on the vocals of frontman Ryan Santos and the lyrics courtesy of Mateychick—but where Eternal Isolation was, to many, an introduction, Dura Vita opens up the floodgates on what Born a New are truly capable of. Santos’ harsh, bold voice dominates throughout Dura Vita, with “6ft.deep” and “whentheresnobulletobite” seeing the best of his delivery and variety. Where Dura Vita discusses less the social issues Born a New brought to the forefront of their previous record, it focuses on other aspects in which life can be oppressive, daunting and tough. Speaking on the challenges of day-to-day living, abjection and depression, songs like “whentheresnobulletobite” focus on social strife and the mental burden thereof—whereas “World_of_Black” is equal parts aggressive energy and depressive introspection, with lyrical contributions from Mateychick and Saczawa both. Santos, and truly all of Born a New bring an incredible amount of variety throughout three brief—but thoughtful, thorough and incredibly engaging—songs.

            If I’m being totally honest, I was disappointed to learn that Born a New’s follow-up to their year-and-genre-defining Eternal Isolation was three songs long. A huge majority of that was washed away upon finishing “World_of_Black” alone. Born a New have managed to create three iron-clad songs with the content and density of a proper EP. Dura Vita is vicious, primal and intense, combining the raw, ruthless attitude of heavy hardcore with the polish, appeal and dynamism of traditional metalcore. With Dura Vita, Born a New have solidified themselves as stalwarts within the metalcore community, essentials in the households of mosh addicts, breakdown junkies and riff-lovers the whole world over.


For Fans Of: Degrader, Extortionist, Falsifier, Concrete

By: Connor Welsh