REVIEW: Earth Caller – Degenerate [2015]


Artist: Earth Caller

Album: Degenerate


There are times for peaceful protest. There are times when violence is counter active—where passive, disciplined objection outweigh frenzied fighting and physical aggression. However, there are times when peace must take a backseat to passion and drive; when anger must be truly allowed to manifest itself in the name of making a point. Earth Caller’s debut full length release, Degenerate is such an example. Forged in sweltering Australian heat and strengthened by the pressure of countless years of strife, degradation and conflict, Earth Caller emerge as a band stronger than steel beams and more unstable than ten tons of TNT. Degenerate is a breakout album packed with energy and built upon a solid core of passion, powerful enough to topple dictatorships and spark revolutions in the blink of an eye—proving that sometimes, peaceful protest simply isn’t enough to get the job done.

Degenerate is a crushing display of heavy-hitting hardcore infused with melodic metalcore to give the vibe of the bastard child of Parkway Drive and Backtrack. Earth Caller draw clear influence from an incredible spectrum of musical styles ranging from bouncy, bold hip-hop to chug-laden, beatdown hardcore, making them a unique blend of sounds that cater to tastes of any fan of heavy music. Percussionist Luke Weber weaves a basic, brash base of bodacious drumming, using quick double kick drums and bright, flashy cymbals to flow from back-busting breakdowns (a la “The Faceless King”) to jazzy, atmospheric and simple backdrops (heard in “The Great Divide” and “8 Hz”). Weber’s wonderful percussion gives Degenerate a fluid, diverse foundation upon which bassist Anth Mar and guitarist Lachlan Monty can create everything from abysmal heaviness to marvelous atmosphere—and all sorts of styles in between. Mar’s low end is simply murderous, looking around Weber’s drumming like pools of murky mud, adding thickness and heft to even his brightest and lightest drumming. Meanwhile, Monty’s fretwork is enormously varied—but shines on both “The Faceless King” and “Exile, Exist,” especially the latter. “Exile, Exist” starts with some of Monty’s most melodic writing, but quickly flows through segments of shred into jarring portions of driving dissonance. The chorus especially combines incredible, harmonious melodic hardcore fretwork with a catchy, twisty-turny riff that feels like it could be right out of an early Parkway Drive anthem. Meanwhile, “The Faceless King” or “Rise” combine Earth Caller’s hip-hop-hardcore rhyme schemes and flow with disastrous, down-tuned heaviness, as Monty chugs and churns with more heft and hate than a steamroller driven by Satan. However, both of these tracks fail to do justice to Monty’s ability to work hand in hand with Weber’s softer percussive pallet. For that, there are tracks like “The Great Divide.”

Earth Caller do their energetic, entertaining amalgam of hectic hardcore and melodic metalcore justice with a superb vocal performance. Josh Collard does the album’s title true justice, as his preachings of protest and civil disobedience are truly those of a Degenerate in the best ways possible. From the first catchy verse of “Rise,” Collard has the listener captivated, using low, bitter growls as readily as he almost-raps overtop of Weber’s punchy percussion. “Your Enemy” is a great example of Collard at his most diverse—especially when coupled with the guest performance from Hellions’ Dre Faivre. Collard relies primarily on a heart mid-range shout to tel stories that grab the listener ears and places them in a figurative stranglehold, urging them to stay focused on every syllable Collard barks. At times, his vocals take a turn for the peaceful and poetic—especially on “The Great Divide” and throughout portions of “Shadow Dance.” His greatest performance, however, is on the album’s closing track, “Exile, Exist.” Once more, accompanied by Comback Kid’s Andrew Neufield, Collard shines from start to finish—with a catchy, wonderfully written opening verse and a meaningful, melodic chorus that plucks at the listener’s heartstrings and starts a fire in their chest.

Everything about Earth Caller’s Degenerate drops with pure passion—even a deaf man could feel that. Written under immense social duress and strengthened, sharpened with sinister aggression and white-hot fury, Degenerate cuts through the bullshit and rips at the heart of the problems surrounding Earth Caller. This Melbourne quartet is a motivator for social change that hardcore hasn’t heard or felt since the 1980’s. A torpedo of terrifyingly energetic instrumentation that spits honesty and truthful discontent about the state of the world, Earth Caller are set to explode with their debut release. Tracks like “The Great Divide” see the band stepping out of their comfort zone and immersing themselves in melody and harmony, while the album’s title track is a blitzkrieg on the listener’s soul, leaving them numb—save the simmering, smoldering motivation to make a difference. Earth Caller don’t truly “sound” like any other single band—rather, they are a boggling amalgam of the greatest parts of several stunners from down under, giving the listener the unique, intangible pizzazz that bands from Australia seem to possess.

When someone says “they’re from Australia,” that tends to serve as a synonym for “they’re really damn good.” Earth Caller aren’t going to be the band to break that trend. Degenerate is he sound of a band desperate for change in the world they inhabit—and subsequently aren’t afraid to effect it on their own.



For Fans Of: Deez Nuts, Disaster Path, Parkway Drive, Backtrack, In Hearts Wake

By: Connor Welsh