Earth Caller – Crystal Death
Released: January 19th, 2018
Earth Caller Line up —
Josh Collard // Vocals
Zac Noble // Guitar & Vocals
Justin Murphy // Guitar
Harley Hadden // Bass & Vocals
Joel Diver // Drums
Earth Caller Online —
Australian hardcore and metalcore have gone through quite a few permutations in the last decade. Parkway Drive is probably the biggest name, were free to carve their own way through the scene, but the likes of Buried in Verona and House Vs. Hurricane were on the list of bands that really trademarked that frenetic, off the wall drumming and shouting, anger ridden sound that fans (and I especially) came to love. Nowadays, Parkway Drive are still off doing their own thing whilst the plethora of other hardcore bands have almost uniformly traded in their technicality, groove and variety for the trappings of pop punk and generic proggy metalcore. But now the world have Earth Caller.
2015’s Degenerate was a great start for the Melbourne quintet’s hardcore sound, flaws and all, but Crystal Death remedies almost every aspect that was lacking with the first. As soon as ‘Pipe Dreams’ begins, it’s clear that a lot of work and effort has gone into Josh Collard’s vocal performances. His shouts are more raw and his screams are more present and threatening than they ever have been; it’s a drastic improvement. Outside of the opener and the subsequent ‘Sucka’, I must admit the pacing of his vocals stays the same throughout the rest of the album, creating an almost blurring effect, allowing a lot of the lyrics to wash over the listener. It is to his benefit that there are guest vocals on the last track and ‘Fall’. However, as they’re broken up a lot with gang and guest vocals, it tends to alleviate a lot of the problem.
Speaking of, ‘Fall’, it has a lot of what (admittedly little) I enjoy about metalcore and hardcore music; contrast. Between Collard’s hammering vocals and the dreamlike croon of Sophie Jest, one could become almost mesmerised, and the chorus has a marvellous rising feeling that one would get listening to Northlane’s ‘Quantum Flux’. Even the instruments cut quite a black and white soundscape, as they drift between Earth Caller’s trademark pounding riffs and achingly sweet chords and plucked notes. This technique is employed a few times, most notably on ‘Dying Beside You’ which follows the same instrumental pattern but throws in gang vocals to round out the sound, turning it into an anthem of sorts.
Thanks to Joel Diver the entire album is held together by some of the smoothest tom work in the industry; every drum fill and roll over the kit fits perfectly. The heavier moments of the album can be most certainly attributed to the accompaniment that Diver gives to the strings. For example, ’Exposed’, the heaviest song on the entire album, crashes over the listener like a wave fit to wash away a large portion of the Australian mainland as it is punctuated by a mixture of sludgy breakdowns that instead of feeling stale, employ the dirtiest guitar tone I’ve heard in a hardcore song in a long time and the wonderfully groovy, non-stop drumming that rears its head throughout the entire album.
Crystal Death won’t be reinventing the wheel with this release but it’s a solid album that harks back to the older, more angry, more powerful days of Australian hardcore.
Earth Caller – Crystal Death tracklist –
- Pipe Dreams
- No Forgiveness
- Dying Beside You
- Never In Never Around
- A Ghost
- May 16
- Hold On
Earth Caller frontman Josh Collard shares guest co-hosting duties on this week’s episode of our podcast series Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall. Take a listen here.
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