Artist: The Healing
Album: Elevate – EP
Every person has their way of perceiving and existing when it comes to the world around them. Some of us are content—we wake up, work a nine to five, go home, make dinner for ourselves (and our loved ones, should we be so lucky), and go to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat. We live our day-in and day-out lives without questioning the greater purpose or scheme of our individual existences.
For others, however, humans exist to challenge the limitations of our human minds. They are never satisfied with a standard state of life–they are never complacent. Canadian progressive metalcore act The Healing surely align themselves—and their music—with the latter mindset. While their debut EP, Transcendence, lived up to its name and transcended traditional progressive metal and metalcore stylings, their sophomore effort, Elevate, ups the ante. Taking the dynamic established on their breakout effort and intensifying every aspect, The Healing elevate the standards for the genre once more with six tracks that are both blisteringly brutal yet soothing and serene—and everything in between.
The Healing’s Transcendence was (and still is) a remarkable blend of aggression and melody, expertly blending technicality and clever grooves to make catchy, crushing tracks. In some respect, that hasn’t changed on Elevate as much as it has grown, staying true to the EP’s title. The Healing have taken the finest moments from their debut and expanded upon them, more consistently delivering riffs, breakdowns and grooves that will take the listener’s breath away. Percussionist Ned Skiffington is found at the band’s center, laying a strong, sturdy foundation for the remainder of the group. Skiffington is a boundless source of stellar drumming, ranging from dizzying fills to fleet footwork that marks a notable departure from his previous work. Songs like “Descend” or “Revenant” see him beating away with the speed and endurance of an energizer bunny hopped up on meth—while the subtle interlude, “Embers,” as well as the lengthy closing number, “Esoteric” see Skiffington working more serenely in the background, playing to guitarist Joe Garant’s gracious sense of ethereality and atmosphere. Elevate continues The Healing’s trend of energetic intensity and soothing serenity—mostly at the hands of Garant’s and bassist Jason Dykeman. Garant’s leads soar, especially on dynamic opener “First Light” and the headstrong follow-up, “Aether Eyes.” Where Garant’s fretwork favors shred or ambiance, Dykeman’s bass looms in the background, prepared to leap when crushing breakdowns like those in “Descent” rear their heads. Together, this trio of talented instrumentalists create a fluid and full-bodied soundscape unlike many relatively one-dimensional “progressive” bands.
Where The Healing’s musicianship is varied and engaging, the vocals of frontman Kris Garant follow suit. Garant’s range is remarkable—from screeches to surly bellows and soft, crooned clean vocals and then some—he is the icing on The Healing’s cake. Even during the rare moments when Elevate dips into generic djent territory, Garant’s vocals are there to provide variety. “First Light”—the album’s first song—sets the tone well; as Garant spans his entire range with ease, never sounding forced or hurried. Second only to his variety of styles, Garant’s endurance is also remarkable—as he fills just about every track with several styles and vocals that, while generic at times, maintain the listener’s interest at the very least. “Aether Eyes,” as well as the bruiser “Descent” see Garant at the top of his lyrical game, using the extent of his range and energy to add emphasis and emotion to key lines and segments, yet still backing off when the music demands to be heard without distraction.
With vocal ingenuity by the boatload and musical mastery to be reckoned with, Elevate crashes every check its lofty name writes. Surpassing Transcendence in every arena—along with most of their proggy peers—The Healing have crafted more than an album to be proud of. Elevate is as energetic and aggressive as it is calm and collected—the very image of a band confidently striding a tightrope stretched between brutality and beauty.
For Fans Of: I’ll Be An Empire, Veil of Maya, Volumes, Structures, Kardashev
By: Connor Welsh