Artist: Born a New
Album: Eternal Isolation
There is a certain bitterness that accompanies the word “isolation” that doesn’t hold nearly as true for the word’s other functional synonyms. Lonely is too emotional—too warm—while “alone” lacks the impact and punch. Locked up isn’t really close to it, and comes across too colloquially.
To be isolated is a perfect blend of all the above. It has stopping power and intensity enough to strike it’s message home, all while capturing just the right balance of emotional disregard and cold, calculated castigation of its counterparts. To be isolated is to be alone, in part by choice but in part out of the oppressive actions of others, and in that respect, Eternal Isolation captures the feelings and intensity of Born a New’s debut full-length record perfectly. Drawing from personal conflict and sociopolitical strife both, Eternal Isolation is both emotional and political all while staying raw and ruthless from start to finish. Brazen and bold from the very first breakdown, Born a New lash out at the listener with the self-same sense of violent, aggressive misanthropy that have made them a staple in the modern metalcore community. Riff-heavy, relentless and heavier than all Hell, Eternal Isolation is a monstrous record that blurs the lines between hardcore, metalcore and beatdown and looks damn good doing it.
Eternal Isolation is, at its core, a wrought-iron metalcore record, laden with jarring breakdowns, fast-footed two-steps and riffs to back the metal portion of the genre’s namesake. However, Born a New go beyond the conventions and limitations set by just metalcore and add elements from a smattering of other heavy music subgenres to give Eternal Isolation both replay appeal and diversity, making it as well-rounded as it is ruthless. Percussionist Tyler Saczawa finds himself at the band’s core—truly, their heart—pounding away and keeping perfect time while he does it. From the first dancy beat of the album’s intro, through “Message to a Deadbeat” and the tricky—but clean and catchy—“Cell of Mind,” Saczawa’s skills cannot be questioned. Where he was always known as a strong, integral member of Born a New (as true on Peace is Dead as it ever was), his game has stepped up at least tenfold throughout Eternal Isolation. Every track sees him working hard to create a foundation for the band’s gritty and very real sound without sacrificing a sense of technicality and flair to give his writing and hard work edge; this is true on “Message to a Deadbeat,” “Vile Filth” and so many more. Likewise, bassist Kyle Pinder and guitarist Tyler Mateychick bring just as much to the table in their respective ways. Pinder’s bass is simply punishing, dominating the listener beneath layer after layer of grimey, bouncy low-end that makes every groove and breakdown hit like a freight train. This is especially true on the more aggressive segments of tracks like “Vile Filth,” where Pinder’s bass rumbles below Mateychick’s guitar, leaving the listener looking an awful lot like Flat Stanley by the time the track is done. Meanwhile, Mateychick’s fretwork is relatively straightforward, but incredibly effective at instilling immense violence without even thinking twice. Even from the first riff of the album’s introduction, Mateychick comes out swingin’, and cuts like “Buried Youth” only see him hit harder and harder. Meanwhile, “Empty Oceans,” heavy in its own right, starts with a glassy, tranquil serenity that leaves the listener all too abruptly when the back half the song kicks in and Mateychick joins forces with Saczawa and Pinder to create a synchronous display of metalcore mastery.
Where Eternal Isolation struck me hardest, however, was (surprisingly) not just with the cavalcade of crushing breakdowns but with the vocals and, crucially, the lyrics courtesy of Mateychick and the roars from frontman Ryan Santos. Santos is among the precious few vocalists in contemporary heavy music who have tastefully been able to deliver meaningful, powerful political lyrics with passion and intensity, while Mateychick’s pen proves prodigal in its ability to write them. Songs like “Buried Youth” and “Vile Filth” capture this perfectly, painting powerful and personal messages of strife and family difficulty within a broader, universally appreciable frame—tales that even someone removed from many of the protagonist’s struggles can easily relate with. Meanwhile, Santos remains a ruthless vocalist in his own right, bombarding the listener with raw, immense mid-range yells and grisly bellows throughout Eternal Isolation—not to mention many of the ad-libs and mosh calls throughout the record are absolutely perfect for the vibe and flow of the record (“Step back motherfucker” comes to mind as a personal favorite). Where there is musical intensity abundant throughout Eternal Isolation, there is just as much vocal and lyrical intensity—even without considering the immense guest appearances and the out-of-left-field 90’s influenced hip-hop interlude, penned by Santos himself.
Eternal Isolation is brooding, personal, emotional and unrelenting. It sees Born a New moving as a band who were very firmly riding the metalcore popularity wave to a band who have defined it and become the tip of the arrow, figuratively. Born a New’s record is a masterwork when it comes to blending metal, hardcore, beatdown, and even a little bit of nostalgic, introspective hip-hop. The takeaway is simple—Eternal Isolation is a debut full-length that stands to do for metalcore late in 2019 what bands like Killswitch Engage or On Broken Wings did in the late 2000s. Eternal Isolation is a record that, contrary to its name, stand to re-unite a great amount of contemporary heavy music enthusiasts.
For Fans Of: Hounds, Degrader, Shame Spiral, Grievance
By: Connor Welsh