Album: Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change – EP
Life is a series of decisions, each with individual consequences. From the age we’re first truly able to make those choices, the results of them begin to pile up—ultimately forming the route and journey that becomes the story of our time spent on earth—a legacy, if you will. But these choices and their consequences are not without long-lasting implications on our own health—and often times, the more deleterious results of our actions linger on in the mind long after their physical ramifications have come and gone. They stack up, suffocating and smothering, and before long, they begin to crush.
This sensation of anxiety, panic and inevitable self-immolation kick-starts the anticipated EP by west-coast mosh warriors Distinguisher, aptly titled Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change.
In short, their new EP is devastating—it is six tracks of frenzied, intense emotion rooted primarily in anger and aggression. It sees Distinguisher experimenting more with the heavier side of their dynamic than ever seen before, while still retaining a sense of technicality and intricacy allowing them to rise a cut above the vast majority of their peers. Once you press play, it truly isn’t hard to get steamrolled Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change.
Distinguisher have always been a heavy band—even on their oft-overlooked debut EP, Helpless, the band were heavy, but on their 2022 release, they’re absolutely rabid. Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change is explosive to say the least. “Pointe Willow,” what I consider to be an early frontrunner to 2022’s best introductory track, proves that with ease in just under two minutes—let alone what the next track, “By Design” demonstrates. Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change is home to the band’s finest percussion (which is saying something after Hell From Here), with the fills and footwork in “Pointe Willow” and “Open Letter” absolutely shining despite just about every song being home to immaculate drum work. Distinguisher’s percussion from Jacob Barsoum shines alongside the remainder of the band’s crushing instrumentation—especially alongside the fretwork and immense production by Josh Bearden. Bearden and Barsoum are nigh unstoppable on “Open Letter,” and just as devastating on the previously-touted “Pointe Willow.” Instrumentally, the band blend brazen breakdowns with low, grisly grooves and scathing riffs. The lead single, “Without End,” is excellent evidence of this, with a recurring lacerating lead that segues brilliantly between the songs bold, bombastic breakdowns that define it. While “Without End” has tact, “By Design” has…well, about as much tact as The Hulk after mainlining anabolic steroids and methamphetamine in a malevolent, aggression-inducing intravenous cocktail. The point I’m trying to make here is that Distinguisher—traditionally a metalcore act—blur the lines between metalcore and deathcore at several points throughout Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change, making it their most technically impressive and ruthless release to date.
Just as the band’s instrumentation took a step up, their vocal element has as well. In fact, I want to take a second to put it out there—throughout 2020 and 2021 we saw several people become powerhouse vocalists out of relative nowhere—and no one seems to give Nick Chance the credit he deserves on that front. Chance went from being a percussionist in a (very good) Alabama-based metalcore outfit to Distinguisher’s new vocalist overnight; and on Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change, he sounds better than he ever has. Throughout the entirety of the release, Chance sounds vicious, akin to a truly rapid and crazed animal. On “By Design” he barks and spits lines of revenge and malice—and on “Coffin of Pain,” he is more introspective (but still plenty pissed). I don’t think anyone saw Chance being the surprise piece to Distinguisher’s puzzle, but between his addition on Hell From Here to his maturity and growth on Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change, he’s been instrumental in making Distinguisher the juggernaut they are.
Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change sounds sullen, downtrodden and bitter—and in some respects, it is—but mostly, it’s a ravenous, carnal release that stampedes the listener without remorse. Distinguisher are In their perfect form on Under the Weight of Things I Couldn’t Change, and despite its name, there isn’t a single thing I would change about this EP.
For Fans Of: Degrader, Extortionist, Born a New
By: Connor Welsh