Album: Rejection//Dejection – EP
Let’s take a moment to talk about cause and effect. There is no event that occurs without impetus; even simple or innocuous things like breathing or blinking are fixed action patterns resulting from a series of complex neurological signals occurring due to even more subtle physical stimuli. Things happen for a reason, and when we talking about the result, we often think of it independently of the instigating action–but when it comes to Newcomer’s debut EP, Rejection//Dejection, the band display depressive, downtrodden dejection with just as much energy and focus as they do with bitter, loathsome rejection. With moments of dark, depressive heaviness contrasting segments of nu-infused, hellishly intense speed and aggression, Rejection//Dejection sees Newcomer displaying a full dialectic, touching on both cause and effect with equal efficacy, creating a well-rounded and wonderfully immersive EP that will have fans of everything from Oceano to Knocked Loose hooked in seconds.
When Newcomer debuted “Slag” a year ago, one could say they were truly newcomers. However with several seasons as a functioning band under their belt, they are ready to cast that label asunder with their breakout EP. Rejection//Dejection is an instrumental juggernaut—balancing raw, unfiltered ferocity with polished, punchy power with ease. No aspect of Newcomer’s musicianship displays this balance better than Percussionist Jonathan Lievano. With the bouncy, heavily nu-influenced introduction, “Sad Song” serving as a brilliant example of his more careful and collected drumming, songs like the brutalizing “10¢” showcases his sinister, spine-shredding penchant for beatdown-infused heavy hardcore. Lievano oscillates back and forth between the two—more than capable at both bouncy, tedious grooves and straightforward snare-and-kick patterns that batter the listener into submission. “P(r)etty” is an excellent example—with the introduction gliding smoothly into the listener’s head while the conclusion showcases gritty, splashy cymbals and rough, ruthless kick patterns. “10¢” is another good example—especially where the conclusion is concerned, as Lievano works exclusively with bassist Alex Loparnos to drown the listener in Newcomer’s sludgy, grimy low end. Loparnos spends a majority of Rejection//Dejection adding depth and power to Lievano’s toms and kick drum—however, groovy and metallic songs like “Doll’s Eyes” see him working with Chris Agostino to provide a comprehensively crushing series of riffs and chugs. Agostino dances atop the foundation laid down by Lievano and Loparnos with ease and brilliance. Where “Sad Song” and “P(r)etty” see him channeling his penchant for bouncy nu-metalcore, “10¢” and “Doll’s Eyes” are more straightforward songs—while the lead single “Slag” is a downright filthy display of downtempo deathcore at its finest. Agostino takes a solid foundation and makes it stellar—diverse and devastating for the EP’s duration.
Just as Agostino is capable at building from anything given to him by Newcomer’s low end, the band’s frontman is ambitalented when it comes to a sprawling array of vocal styles. Piantini Toribio single handedly defines Rejection//Dejection. “10¢,” “Slag” and “Sad Song” are him at his most ruthless and aggressive—rejection, so to speak—while “417A” is depressive and sullen (that’s Dejection). Toribio is not just a success due to his ability to write varied and viciously emotional lyrics—his range is sprawling and smothering both. From the get go on “Sad Song,” Toribio hits harsh, strung-out mid range yells and gurgling, gritty bellows both; and his range only grows as Rejection//Dejection continues. While “10¢” is a brilliant depiction of his skill, the conclusion does see certain styles of his sounding markedly louder than others—as his hoarse yells drown out the instrumentation behind him ever so slightly. With that flaw being the only stand-out exception to Toribio’s talent, his performance on Rejection//Dejection is surely one for the record books, as rarely has a debut EP featured such a stunning vocal and lyrical dynamic.
Angsty yet aggressive, visceral and violent, Rejection//Dejection was an EP I had exceedingly high hopes for—hopes that were overshadowed by the actual excellence of the release itself. While Newcomer may be fresh blood, they carry themselves with the attitude and energy that comes only from experience. With examples of eviscerating downtempo, catchy nu-metalcore and crushing heavy hardcore all, Rejection//Dejection is a prodigally powerful album, prominent in a time where countless bands are boasting a similar amalgam of styles. Where there are moments that Newcomer sound a little too rough for their own good (the end of “10¢” and “417A”) as well as the samples which are, simply put, too quiet and too numerous, 99% of the EP is masterful—making it something the heavy music community will be unable to reject.
For Fans Of: Knocked Loose, Yuth Forever, Bodysnatcher, Rex
By: Connor Welsh