REVIEW: Boundaries – Death is Little More [2024]

Artist: Boundaries
Album: Death is Little More

“What was this forest savage, rough and stern, Which in the very thought renews the fear. So bitter is it, death is little more; but of the good to treat, which there I found, speak will I of the other things I saw there.”

These grim and haunting words start the first canto of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, which may be one of the most infamous poems of all time. Dante’s Divine Comedy is a stunning trilogy that catalogues the human condition, with the first entry—Inferno—categorizing and describing the depravity and evil of humanity in an unabashed manner. With this in mind, the title—adapted from Inferno—of Connecticut metalcore outfit Boundaries, becomes all too fitting. Death is Little More is a harrowing amalgam of unholy aggression, bitterness, remorse and relentless brutality that spans the innate loathing one has for themself and expands to misanthropic throes of violence that could turn a monastery into a mosh pit. Boundaries are at their best throughout the record’s robust 36 minutes, combining elements of melody and atmosphere with their practically trademarked ability to vividly paint the listener in hellish shades of armageddon and violence—after everything the band put you through on their 2024 release, death will truly seem like little more.

Death is Little More is as frantic and explosive as it is technically savvy. Every element on the record simultaneously feels both meticulously calculated and catastrophically spontaneous, from the gut wrenching introductory track through the pummeling, emotionally vice-gripping conclusion to “Inhale the Grief.” Boundaries’ percussion serves as the band’s ferociously beating heart, racing along in a two-step-friendly candor one moment and diving into devastating breakdowns the next as though it was plagued with a particularly heavy type of atrial fibrillation. “Like Petals from a Stem” and the raunchy “Blood Soaked Salvation” are two particularly immense tracks, where the band’s drumming steamrolls the listener while a dense, groovy bass partnered with lacerating leads set fire to the listener’s pancake-esque corpse. Meanwhile, lead single “Easily Erased” sees the band exploring the types of melody one might expect on a late 2000s metalcore release, juxtaposing catchy, soaring choruses against bitter and brooding breakdown-packed verses. Boundaries’ instrumentation seems the very essence of metalcore, taking sharp, metallic aspects and bludgeoning them down with heavy-handed hardcore elements—making a release that is comforting in its ability to appeal to the listener by way of nostalgia, but still exciting a new, in the sense that there just aren’t that many bands doing metalcore this well.

Boundaries’ approach to metalcore is sharp and intense from an instrumental aspect alone, but where the band truly set themselves apart from the other several stunning bands in the contemporary “metalcore revival” is with their lyrical content and the vocals that serve as their vector. “Inhale the Grief” is arguably one of the most moving examples of this on Death is Little More—or the band’s entire discography—but there are plenty of other examples, as just about every song on the record finds some way to move the listener. While “Like Petals from a Stem” and “Inhale the Grief” do this in a passionate and intimate way, “Blood Soaked Satisfaction” moves the listener almost literally; I’m pretty sure it’s impossible not to get active when Matt Honeycutt kicks in with “Oh. My. God. Damn.” Boundaries build on the dichotomy of violence and introspection established on Burying Brightness in a beautiful way, making the vocal and lyrical efforts on Death is Little More their best yet, soundly.

As someone who followed Boundaries from their debut EP (ah, the Chugcore days), their progression—both overall and even from their last record—on Death is Little More is dizzying. Somehow, Boundaries manage to take bare-knuckles metalcore, infuse it with emotion, sprinkle in some unexpected elements (Matt Honeycutt and the synth-laden what-the-MySpace-is-that? Breakdown on “Blame’s Burden”) and make it, arguably, one of the year’s best releases yet. I remember hearing Burying Brightness and thinking how difficult it would be for Boundaries to top it, and now I’m in the same position, wondering how Death is Little More could ever be beaten—but I’m excited to see Boundaries try.

For Fans Of: Foreign Hands, Mortal Reminder, Mouth for War, Mugshot
By: Connor Welsh