Artist: And Hell Followed With
Album: Chimerical Reality – EP
Starting some time around the end of 2016, the “new wave” of deathcore became the resurgence of…well, the older waves. Bands that paved the way for many of the contemporary juggernauts awoke from their slumber brushing off the dust of a near-decade spent on a heavy music hiatus and getting back to work. Many of these comebacks were successful—or at the very least, most of them weren’t total flops—but only a select few really succeeded in making something fresh and poignant enough to hearken back to what made them a staple in the first place. As it stood, many bands either abandoned their roots altogether, in search of a newer trend of style, or they refused to budge, making a carbon copy of their 2000-whatever hit record that, unsparingly, fell on its ass, good for one play through for nostalgia’s sake and then forever relegated to the untouched corners of iPhones and CD cabinets country-wide. I’m not naming names, but we can all think of at least five “comebacks” in the last two years that fall into one of these two pidgeonholes.
Then, however, there is And Hell Followed With. With their long-anticipated return, the deathcore dynamos distort reality, blending elements of their archetypal sound with contemporary deathcore and hints of atmospheric, moody melodic death metal to create something that is absolutely not Domain or Proprioception, but still strikes a very relevant—and very ruthless—chord with the sensibilities of deathcore fanatics around the world.
The enormous majority of the musicianship provided on Chimerical Reality is the work of Patrick Hahn—with sparse additions from guitarists Adrian Carey and Hunter Spader, bassist Nick Scott and percussionist Byron Landon—and as the remaining member from And Hell Followed With’s Proprioception days, he has some lofty expectations to live up to. Spoiler alert: he does it. While Chimerical Reality is largely penned by the same creative mind, it is very much its own entity when compared to the group’s discography. From the get-go of “Empty and Hollow,” Hahn proves he has no difficulty in adapting to the times, creating pummeling salvos of groovy, catchy deathcore that sound as if they are a chimera of traditional and contemporary versions of the genre. Other efforts—“Dear Father”—stray from elements of deathcore altogether, stripping the –core influences down to the bare bones and filling the song with atmospheric elements reminiscent of melodic and blackened death metal moieties. On the tracks in between, Hahn and his compatriots take the listener on a journey—one wrought with immolating riffwork and punishing percussion (“Retribution”) and bold, bouncy breakdowns galore (“The Notion of Freedom”). Chimerical Reality is a wellspring of variety, refusing to stay stuck on any one specific song for too long a time—which, for a full-length record, might get overbearing—but for an EP is perfect. Hahn doesn’t try to re-create the same note-for-note songs and style of And Hell Followed With’s past, but instead, channels it (“Retribution” especially) to provide the same feeling with a very unique new sound and style.
Where Hahn’s musical progression is the largest true departure from And Hell Followed With’s star-studded track record, frontman Andrew Patterson’s voice is where no short order of the scrunity for And Hell Followed With’s return fell. Fortunately, Patterson is a more than capable vocalist, and brings his A-game throughout Chimerical Reality and it shows. From his debut on “Empty and Hollow,” Patterson’s voice dominates, pulverizing the listener with a barrage of grisly bellows and raw mid-range screams. Elsewhere, Patterson’s range becomes remarkable, especially on “The Notion of Freedom,” “Chimerical Reality” and the album’s closing number, “Dear Father.” The latter especially allows Patterson’s vocal dynamism to underscore his lyrical talents, writing from a more introspective and emotional place to add another dimension to the already-multifaceted record. It’s a fair thing to say that Patterson isn’t the band’s previous vocalist—because, after all, he is physically a different person—but he doesn’t try to fill those shoes, instead branching out and showcasing his own talents, which, in many ways, better suits the musicianship Hahn and the remainder of the group have put forth. Songs like “Dear Father”—an incredible song at that—exist because of Patterson’s willingness to push himself out of the band’s sprawling shadow, and in turn, crafts something that adds more depth to And Hell Followed With’s tremendous legacy.
Chimerical Reality doesn’t try too hard to appeal to And Hell Followed With’s past. It doesn’t try to be a record that it isn’t. It doesn’t try to capture the rose-tinted, nostalgia-dusted days of 2008 where borderline-post-pubescent-boys were spinkicking their way into the hearts of scene queens across the nation. Chimerical Reality is it’s own record. There are absolutely moments that Proprioception fanatics will love, just as there are moments where those with more moderate and less extreme metallic tastes will find solace in. By crafting something unique to 2019’s And Hell Followed With, the band have crafted something that has easily earned its place alongside it’s predecessors and rightfully-deserved pieces of deathcore history.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Legion, Slaughter to Prevail
By: Connor Welsh