REVIEW: S’efforcer – Life}.{Less [EP/2020]

Artist: S’efforcer

Album: Life}.{Less – EP

         2020 has brought about a focus on several pressing social and political issues that had long been lurking in the overshadowed, uncomfortable collective corners of society’s conscience. Things like human trafficking, blight, disease, the ever-looming threat of nuclear warfare and dwindling mental health among the country’s younger generations. If those things—and more—weren’t on your radar before listening to S’efforcer’s Life}.{Less, then you absolutely will afterwards. A socially conscious, emotional and riveting display of technically savvy progressive metalcore, Life}.{Less picks up where the band’s debut full-length left off, ensnaring the listener in the throes of something catchy, beautiful, creative and crushing all in one. Clocking in at nearly a half hour, S’efforcer don’t slack on bringing the listener plenty of bang for their buck. Matured and more aggressive than the listener might otherwise expect, Life}.{Less is one of the finest EPs this otherwise tumultuous year has set forth yet.

         S’efforcer stunned the world with their debut full-length—maybe not the world, fair, but certainly the ecosystem defined by underground heavy music—and they are poised to do so once more with Life}.{Less. Approximately twenty minutes of groove-laden, hard-hitting emotion, Life}.{Less is a tremendous testament to the notion that metalcore can be both inventive and emotive, even down to its instrumentation. Take “72 Hours,” for example—a frantic explosion of concussive percussion that dances with thick, burly bass and fleetly-fingered leads. Meanwhile, “To Exist & Expire” stands a more aggressive number, with drums that hit like sledgehammers and guitars that oscillate smoothly between crushing chugs and scintillating, stunning grooves. In these songs, S’efforcer prove they’re plenty adept at crafting more headstrong and abrasive brands of progressive metalcore; however, it’s songs like “Lost and Found” where the act expertly blend atmosphere with precise, pummeling bitterness. “Lost and Found” sees the group interspersing moments of drum-heavy, immensely energetic metalcore with drifting, ethereal dream-like sequences that lull the listener into a more melancholic and lethargic state. These sections last only so long as to give the listener a brief reprieve before pummeling them once more with groove-heavy segments that could inspire even the most stalwart of hearts to bob their heads. In this fashion, S’efforcer inject emotion in a plethora ways, be it with moments of atmosphere, or outright in the most frantic segments songs like “72 Hours” have to offer.

         What made S’efforcer stand out—even on their debut outing—from the pack of progressive metalcore acts aching to make their mark in the scene is not only the precision and ingenuity by which they unleash their brand of metalcore, but the vocal elements they employ as well. Covering everything from gritty, low bellows to shrieking screams and beautifully sung bridges, S’efforcer’s vocal element is jaw dropping to say the least. Songs like “72 Hours” are abrasive and stop at nothing to deliver a vocal show-of-power, while “Lost and Found” is nothing short of soul wrenching, a tale of forlorn parents destined to recover their daughter—a victim of child trafficking. “Lost and Found” is immersive such that even those without children can feel a tugging in the pit of their stomach—a sensation that even they might have lost someone or something—and such immersion is not only hard to come by in contemporary heavy music, but hard to craft.  Life}.{Less continues the band’s legacy of incredible storytelling and vocal dynamism without skipping a beat, refining only minute elements to improve over the group’s debut.

         Life}.{Less—while short—is stunning, and an incredible display of modern metalcore. Sounding something like an amalgam of Silent Planet and circa-2016 Currents, S’efforcer continue to improve and hone their sound in subtle ways, carefully making their sound more accessible yet simultaneously more raw and unfiltered, delivering a devastating yet doubtlessly beautiful record—one sure to end up near the top-end of 2020’s best of lists.


For Fans Of: Silent Planet, Currents, Erra, Spirit Breaker, Invent Animate

By: Connor Welsh