REVIEW: From Sorrow to Serenity – Remnant of Humanity [2016]


Artist: From Sorrow to Serenity 

Album: Remnant of Humanity


We are born as humans–naïve, ignorant to the cruelty and injustice of the world into which we are thrust. However, with each day, we lose a piece of that to the innate nature of the violent society we create. We become less human and more beast, surviving by instinct rather than the innocent, nurturing attitude provided at birth. By the time we reach adulthood, there is barely any sense of humanity left—just aggressive, predatory beasts hellbent on doing what it takes to survive and propagate. This same carnal, violent energy pervades throughout the debut studio album by gruesomely heavy Glasgow-based heavy music outfit From Sorrow to Serenity. Combining riffs, grooves and pummeling breakdowns into a comprehensive display of metal mastery. Adding just enough hardcore and metalcore elements to appeal to the spin-kicking and slam-dancing masses, but still bountiful with booming drumming and skin-peeling technicality, Remnant of Humanity is the same visceral, volatile and vicious attitude that blurs the line between man and beast.

From Sorrow to Serenity do an excellent job in Plato aggressive, heavy music without relying too much on any one style. They flow from quick, groovy segments to those of skin-splitting technicality, taking just enough time to add blistering breakdowns where they fit. Because of this, they easily sidestep a pure “deathcore” label, just as surely as they insure their more progressive elements are varied enough to avoid being pigeonholed as another “djent” band. Percussionist Kieran Smith serves as the fluid, oscillating foundation for the band’s mesmerizing dynamic. The blistering, intense “Hellbound,” or the eviscerating “Prosthetic Eyes” sees Smith letting loose, giving listeners three-to-four minutes of pure fury. However, songs like the climactic “The Way Back” or “The Divide” are a corollary, where Smith blends sinister blast beats with ethereal, atmospheric passages that let bassist Andrew Simpson run wild. Simpson primarily shadows Smith, adding punch to his kick drum—but the tech-death anthem “The Divide” sees Simpson roaming freely, hitting low, grisly grooves as well as higher, mid-range riffs that serve as a foundation for guitarist Steven Jones. Jones is where Remnant of Humanity draws some of its most human touches, with more atmospheric aspects of “The Way Back” or “Nescient” featuring some warmer and more subtle fretwork—just as the opening numbers feature scalding, riff-driven madness. Jones works directly with Smith throughout the album to create bouncy, bold grooves that drop into devastating chugs without warning, but without abusing the breakdown like so many of From Sorrow’s peers.

Where Jones’ variety adds warmth and atmosphere to Remnant of Humanity, the carnal, primal penchant for viciousness and violence from frontman Fraser Smith is overpowering throughout much of the album—in an excellent way. Smith’s vocals are bitter, raw and ruthless—tearing into the listener from the first ear-splitting shrieks of “Hellbound” and wearing their ear drums down even throughout the more ethereal back half of the release. Smith combines his sprawling range and stellar endurance on songs like “Forsaken” and “Break the Mould” to prove to the listener—and the heavy music community as a whole—that he is more than capable of leading the chimeric beast that is From Sorrow to Serenity with ease; however, guess vocal appearances like those of CJ McMahon and Aaron Matts lend diversity and star-power to the quartet. Where Smith’s vocals may not be truly unique, they are intense and energetic—the icing on the cake that is Remnant of Humanity, making it enjoyable through its hefty duration instead of monotonous and predictable.

From Sorrow to Serenity may not have a sprawling discography to show for their time as a band, but they are indeed experience—and Remnant of Humanity is proof of that. Blending tedious technicality with brute force, From Sorrow to Serenity are catchy and crushing—nothing less, nothing more. While, ultimately, there are few moments of breath-taking brutality or beauty on their debut full length to grant them prodigal access to heavy music’s uppermost echelon, they are boundlessly energetic and entertaining, providing the listener with several solid tracks (“Hellbound,” “Forsaken,” “The Divide” among others) to keep them coming back for more. Just as Remnant of Humanity tells a tale of balance between human and beast, From Sorrow to Serenity manifest the balance between aggression and progression excellently, earning them a spot on any metalhead’s music player for a long while to come.



For Fans Of: Martyr Defiled, Fit For an Autopsy, Thy Art is Murder, Bleed from Within

By: Connor Welsh