Lycanthrope – Chapters
Released: February 16th, 2018
Daniel Greig // Vocals
Aiden Lee // Guitar
Brett Scott // Guitar
Scotty Wright // Guitar
Matthew Stoja // Bass
Jason Salvini // Drums
With the exponential success of homegrown Australian heavies (from Thy Art Is Murder to the newly emerging Polaris powerhouse), there is more pressure than ever from local bands to deliver quality content, and quality riffs. In the wake of their first EP from 2015, Australian metalcore legends, Lycanthrope, have assembled what is easily their best effort yet in the Chapters debut album. But does it stand up against the growing number of Aussie forces? And is it enough to solidify their place as a major contender in the scene?
Short and sweet, this thing clocks in at just under 40 minutes with a total of 10 songs. Despite all the flack that 10 song albums cop for being “underdeveloped and lazy”, Chapters sits at a good length for the sound and is an effective frame for what it tries to achieve. To preface – this is not a revolutionary album, and it ultimately does little to advance the genre in any groundbreaking way. It is only metalcore, but make no mistake, it is some really good metalcore; The brand of metalcore you don’t tend to see so much anymore because it was run into the ground. But Chapters has you do a double take, as Lycanthrope manage to pull it off without any convolution and with some great positive messages.
“Don’t sell your soul for the price of beauty” – ‘Skin & Bones’
“Search to find your better self” – ‘Chapters’
Chapters is the love child of Parkway Drive and Atreyu, channelling that unapologetic aggressiveness of the genre against your conventional melodic sections with an overall pleasing balance between the two. To their credit, this contrast has been composed with the mindful subversion of traditional song structure. Everyone is sick to death of hearing a heavy verse and a poppy chorus in metalcore, no doubt, and so the effect that this craftsmanship has had on the overall listenability of the record cannot be understated. Not to mention, these sections themselves are well crafted. It is hugely refreshing to hear this genre tackled with some fresh minds and some genuinely quality songwriting.
To either the favour or disadvantage of this album, it must be said that regardless of how solid the style is, each track is subject to a similar level of quality and sound. What this essentially means is we are treated to a sweet 40 minute experience of some solid as fuck metalcore. What it also means is that unfortunately there is very little variation, and that there are not many tracks that stand out from any of the others. Even the title track, ‘Chapters’, which admittedly has some really nice melodies and some interesting tempo changes, suffers from this same issue of being a little lost amid a bunch of tracks that are all treated to the same kind of relentless metalcore riffage. It is quality riffage, and thoroughly enjoyable, but ultimately it does hinder the comprehensibility of the album as a whole.
That isn’t to say there is not any variety here. ‘Follow My Name’ is an acoustic slow burn which provides much needed change of pace – as haunting as it is memorable. A well constructed piece of music, which introduces piano and orchestral string layers to contrast against the conventional metal ensemble of the rest of the album. There are some stand out breakdowns on ‘Like A Ghost’ and ‘Bitter Resistance’. ‘Blindfold’ has a pseudo-poetic spoken-word introduction. And ‘X VII‘ has a building euphoric conclusion that feels vaguely Breaking Benjamin.
When all is said and done, Chapters is an extremely solid – if not a tad repetitious – metalcore album which, in my opinion, does the Aussie scene proud. Lycanthrope have a still-developing sound, but an undeniable raw talent that, with continued refinement and perseverance, will land them in some very big places.
And now it’s time for the BEST PRE-BREAKDOWN CALLOUTS.
- “Subject to violence” – ‘Like A Ghost‘ – 9/10
- “Fulfilling fantasy” – ‘Blindfold‘ – 9/10
- “Don’t sell your soul for the price of beauty” – ‘Skin & Bones‘ – 8/10 (Brutal, and a solid message)
- “Condemned to see the wreck – ‘Chapters‘ – 7/10
Lycanthrope – Chapters tracklist
- Skin & Bones
- Like A Ghost
- Follow My Name
- Paths Divided
- Bitter Resistance
- X VII