Held In Secret – Nomads (EP Review)

Held In Secret – Nomads
Released: May 29, 2020

Held In Secret Lineup:

Matt Zephyr | Vocals
David Lamothe | Lead Guitar
Tommy Lemleux | Drums
Joey Sollazzo | Rhythm Guitar
William Gunn | Bass

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Having ‘taking over the world’ as a goal may seem like a stretch for some, but it’s a completely feasible objective for the five piece Ottawa based metal band, Held In Secret. Two years after their debut EP Dawnbreaker was released, the guys are back with their hard hitting sophomore EP, Nomads and boy, have they scrubbed up well.

As a concept release, the new EP holds a large purpose and the lyrics not only speak of eye opening subjects, but also relatable and sensitive topics that pull all your emotions to the surface. The opening track ‘Ties’, seizes your attention straight away with the almost snake-charmer sounding like guitar chords that weave their way in and out throughout the song. Including a melodic chorus, a subtle guitar solo and a djenty breakdown, this track works so well as an opener to the EP, portraying a taste for things to come throughout the remaining songs.

Now buckle yourself in for the title track ‘Nomads’, which features the one and only Garrett Russell (Silent Planet)! The band first met Garrett at a show in Montreal, where they approached him at the merch table as nervous fans and mentioned how much they’d love him to do guest vocals on the record. Not only is this song bound to be a hit, it taps into the subject of the abuse of Indigenous culture in Canada and the United States. The band opened up and explained, ‘we made Nomads the title track right as the clean water crisis happened in Canada. It’s hard to imagine that in 2020, First Nations in Canada could lack access to clean drinking water in their own territories, but many do.’

Zephyr’s and Russell’s vocals mesh so incredibly well together, both casting immense amounts of emotion into the song. It did, however, throw me off a little because where you’d expect a breakdown it actually cuts out to a piano and slow echoey screams, which did kind of ruin the flow of the song for me. I can appreciate the experimentation such as this throughout the album though, it feels like they’ve dramatically steered away from the repetitive side of metalcore.

Downcast’ is up next and will reach a broader audience as it opens with a guitar riff that could have been in a Parkway Drive song. Through raw and unsettling lyrics, the song speaks of depression and trying to find strength in yourself. The screaming of ‘I hope you won’t forget, that the most depressed smile the brightest’ closely followed by the melodic chorus does exactly what the band were aiming for in brutally forcing a feeling of pensive sadness. The song has a pretty standard pace up until the last 15 seconds or so, where it so nicely drops the tempo and transitions into a satisfying breakdown overlapping with keyboard effects and thrashing cymbals.

Second to last, ‘Gaia’ wins the title for the heaviest track on the album and by right, it incorporates a few good old ‘BLEGH’s throughout (any band that can pull this off gets a big tick from me). Some cool effects are also sprinkled throughout and we are revisited by harrowing piano keys and chunky guitar riffs.

Held in secret

Lastly, we have ‘Static’. The band wanted to create an eerie feeling with this track as it was written in relation to the death of a close friend caused by the use of Fentanyl. Zephyr explains, ‘this song tells the story of how we all should’ve listened better; many people shy away from asking for help. Self-destructive behaviour is a call for help. And we all should listen better. For the greater good of the world.’

They’ve completely nailed the ghostly mood, with the use of haunting piano chords lurking behind dense guitar you can’t help but to feel melancholy, while still wanting to rock out at the same time.

Full of thrashy guitar riffs, chilling piano chords and thought provoking lyrics, Nomads well and truly steps away from the norm of metalcore and brings all your emotions to boiling point. This is just the beginning of the road for Held In Secret and I can’t wait to see where it takes them next.

Held in secret nomads
Held In Secret – Nomads tracklisting:

  1. Ties
  2. Nomads (feat. Garrett Russell)
  3. Downcast
  4. Gaia
  5. Static

Rating: 7/10
Nomads is out this Friday. Check them out on Spotify
Review By Rhiannon Porter

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