Without Belief – The Parting Gift (EP Review)

Without Belief – The Parting Gift EP
Released: April 1st, 2020

Lineup

Ralph Brown // Vocals
Jake Kershaw // Vocals

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Members of Melbourne bands Earthbound and Hara Kiri have joined forces for a side-project to share with the heavy music community. Ralph Brown (Hara Kiri) and Jake Kershaw (Earthbound) have put together a five-track EP under the name Without Belief, and after launching on Facebook with a handful of posts with song lyrics, the duo gained 500 likes in just over a week. 

The concept of Without Belief’s EP The Parting Gift is to express the stages of grief musically, and you’ll see that in the track-listing. Often, despite the ‘outer-in’ belief of the world into the heavy music and metal community, that death and associated darkness is glorified through lyrics, and art-forms, and that we worship the devil and all the rest – the actual coping of death of the people we love, is just as difficult as the mainstream music world, and we feel it too. That’s what this EP is about, and once again, it’s about bringing the heavy music community together, as inevitably people are suffering alone.

The EP offers various guest spots, which ultimately delivers a vast range of vocal and musical styles, which fits the contrasting stages of grief – a cool way for the two musicians to have designed this record. 

The two-minute intro is immediately sad, with a slow chord that embarks on the journey of grief. You can almost immediately relate to the feeling of the song if you’ve ever had someone close to you pass away. The whispering vocal echo through these slow chords is musically reminiscent of sections from I Killed the Prom Queen’s most recent album ‘Beloved’. It definitely sets you up for an emotional voyage. 

Denial’ changes tact immediately with rapid progressive metalcore riffs, it’s angry, but not as angry as things get shortly. Lizi Blanco from The Beautiful Monument features with the lovely yet emotive clean vocals that contrast exceptionally well with the disgusting metalcore roar next to it. The theme of the song screams “this can’t be true”, as the track title suggests, and it makes your skin tingle with relatability and empathy. Lizi progresses to a whispering rap-verse that heightens the darkness of the track, and by now as a listener – you’re hooked. Oh, and the final prog breakdowns will make you salivate. 

Now things get angry. Mitch Rawlings from Above the Fallen. That beastly metalcore vibe only gets heavier with this mid-way track. The vocal variation that ranges from desperation to bellowing assertiveness is what encapsulates this song. Lasting just two minutes in length, this marathon song puts you in the head of a manic human coping with some of the atrocities of human emotion, and the sense of loneliness in your world. 

The back-end of the EP flies towards us, as we’re already at the ‘Bargaining’ stage, and we’re joined by Tom Armstrong of Earthbound, with a continuation of the raging mood from ‘Anger’. With lyrics like “I could have found another way”, the track immediately encapsulates those regretful emotions that we go through when we feel like we could have done more. The track is chaotic, yet also melodic, as the journey is balanced, yet it doesn’t feel measured, it doesn’t feel right. The song is filled with talented riffs, and I hope the virtuosic performance of this EP is not lost in the incredibly emotive lyrics. 

The five-minute stage of ‘Depression’ features the soothing voice of David De La Hoz from Belle Haven/Wither who drops lyrics like “all of our memories were in the garden and in the sun” and “you never think the ones you love are going to leave” in the first few seconds. If that doesn’t bring a lump to your throat as you feel the sadness of this journey, not sure what will. The song builds up to a pop-punk-esque chorus with lyrics like “I can feel the darkness consume me” which once again encapsulates the unregrettable mood of the song and even EP. The desperate belches return for some sense of relief from the emotional pain. The difference between tracks like this and standalone music that have depressive lyrics, is that this EP is preceded with the stepwise emotions, enhancing catharsis.

Without Belief take on ‘Acceptance’ on their own – a closing track that returns to the band’s thematic sound of chaotic progressive metalcore, ingrained in a melodic body. “I know you’re looking down and I know that you feel proud” are lyrics that summarise the way the musicians feel when having written this song. There’s so much relief in this track, as the sad and angry energy is transformed into something positive, appreciative and of course – accepting. “You raised us well, you gave it your all, you did it for us, not you” would have been difficult lyrics to put together as the sense of sacrifice is so deeply felt and appreciated, and just like that – you’re forced to appreciate the circle of life for what it is. 

This EP is rawer than many records you’ll have heard recently, maybe that’s what we need right now – and maybe this is your saviour, and if this is so then please thank these musicians for the outlet to our community. 

Album Art

Without Belief – The Parting Gift tracklisting

  1. Intro
  2. Denial (feat. Lizi Blanco)
  3. Anger (feat. Mitchell Rawlings)
  4. Bargaining (feat. Tom Armstrong)
  5. Depression (feat. David De La Hoz)
  6. Acceptance

Rating: 7.5/10
The Parting Gift EP is out on all platforms. Listen here
Review by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90

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