Album: March of Dissolution
Maybe you’ve taken enough physics to be formally familiar with Sir Isaac Newton’s third law—but even if you haven’t, you probably know it anyways. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law, as well as the laws of thermodynamics govern how the universe functions as a system with corollary surroundings—a constant flux of energy in and out, and in a way similar to then contemporary political environment, it always favors entropy.
Living in the United States, it’s easy to get caught up in our own isolationist headspace—even in 2017 where it’s easier than ever before to contact people across the world. With Trump this and Comey that, it’s not hard to forget that just about every political microcosm in countries near and far are finding themselves in some sort of turmoil—slowly drifting towards entropy. Adelaide aggressors Reactions remind us—the worldwide heavy music community—of that with their anticipated full-length release, March of Dissolution. Emotional, poignant, powerful and politically driven, March of Dissolution is a devastating and intense listen that takes traditional hardcore and infuses it with contemporary splashes of melody and murderous intent both. Crushing yet creative and uplifting all in one, Reactions’ contribution to 2017’s already jam-packed roster of relentless heavy albums is certainly not one to ignore.
At the musical crossroads between low-tuned, lurid examples of heavy-handed hardcore and melodic, quick and punk-driven styles of hardcore, March of Dissolution feels a little bit like the hybrid of The Ghost Inside and Incendiary with a distinctly Australian twist. Percussionist Liam Anderson dominates with fast feet and faster hands, setting the roaring and ravenous pace for March of Dissolution from the first seconds of “Confirmation Bias (The Storm).” Anderson may not be overtly technical, but his speed and proficiency still give fans of fill-laden and furious drumming something to stay hooked on. “Wrong Direction” sees Anderson’s more mellow side shining through, confined to the background and working with bassist Joshua Anderson to create a sturdy foundation for the remainder of Reactions’ dynamic. Meanwhile, “Heavy Chains” and “Side Effects” are faster paced and more headstrong on both Andersons’ parts. Liam’s drumming is perfunctory and precise while Joshua’s bass grooves cleverly alongside, fleet yet still low and bouncy. For the duration of March of Dissolution, while Liam and Joshua Anderson both provide the foundation, guitarists James Harris and Nathan Morphett take turns oscillating between harmony and hellish aggression. “Colourblind” and “Wrong Direction” see the duo at the more melodic edges of their spectrum while “Heavy Chains” and March of Dissolution’s introductory track see the duo dominating with spine shrinking chugs and slam-tinged examples of dissonant devastation. Harris and Morphett are a great team, covering just about everything a fan of contemporary hardcore could want within the album’s 30-plus minute runtime.
Where Reactions deviate from what might be expected of them is with their vocal element. Frontman Lachy Pitcher takes a traditional heavy-soft vocal style—one that seems neglected of late—and reinvents it on March of Dissolution. Where much of the band’s full-length is spent serving up examples of Pitcher’s ferocious roar and ruthless lower-mid range register, many songs—like the album’s titular track—provide examples of cleanly sung and hoarsely belted anthemic vocal stylings. True enough; Pitcher’s lyrical content doesn’t necessarily do anything new, and his vocals in their own right aren’t groundbreaking, his work as a lyricist and vocalist serve their purpose brilliantly. “Colourblind” is a great example of this—shining a light on social and political inequity and using his strong, beefy voice as a vector—Pitcher doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but what he does serves as an ideal compliment to Reactions’ music. Far from the next Dan Watson or Dickie Allen, Pitcher’s goals are far more modest: match the intensity of his music with lyrical power and vocal fortitude—something he does excellently.
Reactions aren’t going to be the founders of a new genre or musical movement. They might not make international headlines with March of Dissolution, but what they do make is a solid example of meaningful, moving music. Loaded with heaviness, catchy at points and upbeat at others, March of Dissolution is an excellent album for fans of anything crunchy and crushing, or anybody trying to get into a heavier vein of hardcore than what’s seen in the mainstream—making Reactions readily accessible as they march into the listener’s ears.
For Fans Of: The Ghost Inside, Justice for the Damned, These Streets
By: Connor Welsh