Make Way For Man – Rites EP
Released: September 18, 2020
John Kelly | Vocals
Adam Mather | Bass
Dylans Symonds | Drums
Drew Shepherd | Guitar
Being a ‘small town’ band, it’s hard. To stand out, to be recognised, to find a footing on what sets you apart from every other metalcore band in Perth a small town. However, Make Way For Man (which from henceforth I shall refer to as MWFM) takes a step outside of those lines in their latest EP Rites. Thematically uplifting and downright musically impressive, the release covers a range of close to heart topics and personal journeys.
The thing I found most striking about this little EP, is seemingly unlimited versatility the band has to show off. Each song is complete & thorough in how it approaches songwriting & structure. Riffs feel spontaneous and lively (as metalcore should). Breakdowns feel necessary, natural and big hevvi™. Which is a relief to hear in a genre too often to misuse them. Most importantly, each song is unique and has an important voice in the finished product. My biggest complaint, as an album elitist, was my resistance to the everything-is-a-single format of this EP. However, I believe a full length album from MWFM has the potential to be phenomenal in proportion. Overall, an impressive piece of kit from the small town MVPs (haha did you see what I did there that is the name of one of the songs). Ahead, are some of my highlights and thoughts on the tracks.
What better way to start off an EP than an energetic post-hard/metalcore bopper. ‘Strangers’ sets the standard for what is an incredibly musical, and technically impressive set of guitar compositions and playing from Drew Shepard. Guitar mastery which consistently features across the entire release. The unique dual vocal style. utilised by the band, gets a fabulous working out in this opening track. Harmonising, calling and responding, and creating unique dynamics for the song. Along with bringing us the huge chorus. Something which I imagine would become anthemic, with a crowd of screaming fans before the band. With all elements combined, ‘Strangers’ plays out as an uplifting modern metalcore earworm.
Making the perfect balance of riffy, catchy, technical, heavy is certainly not an easy feat. With a pop to metal ratio discipline akin to prog giants such as Periphery, ‘MVP’ manages to pull it off. The song features overwhelmingly positive lyrics, such as the opening chorus line “the world is turning to me, it’s my time to be the MVP”. Detailing vocalist John Kelly’s ascension into fatherhood and realising you will be the center of another human’s existence. A subject matter often not sung about, let alone in a metal tune. This song also includes my favourite guitar solo on the EP. Incredibly well phrased and musical, while being show-y and technical all the while.
With the heavy momentum created in ‘MVP’, MWFM somehow takes things even further to a crushing banger that is ‘Ideations’. Featuring Sean Harmanis of fellow Perth-based Make Them Suffer, this tune shows the listener just how brutal the band can be. Ideations is self indulgent in its approach to guitar writing. It’s one of those songs you can listen to and think to yourself “damn this shit must be fun to play”. I’m sure it’s also equally fun to mosh to. Lyrically, the song is just as brutal. Following the struggles of mental life-long mental health issues, this song is a departure from the mostly positive message of the rest of ‘Rites’.
Guitarist Drew Shepherd says that the EP “…explores the idea of not overcoming fear by succeeding always, but knowing there are bound to be ups and downs in life – and having to be ready to handle them the best way you personally know how to.” This holds to be positively true with the slower paced groove machine that is ‘Victories’. This song delves further into MWFM’s versatility and dynamic potential. With expanded ambience in the verse sections, followed by crushing TesseracT-esque groove driven riffage at the chorus.
It gives us a chance to breathe, after the onslaught of the previous two tracks in the atmospherically focused verses. Until it too rips us apart with aforementioned hevvies™. This EP also features a cover of ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City. Something I shan’t comment on, except for in this short paragraph where I don’t comment on it… Now.
I could say a great deal more about the intricate details I hear in this album that deserve appreciating but that can be your homework for the next week. Go slap this bad boy on, when it comes to a streaming service near you. Buy the EP from the MWFM Bandcamp (preferably on a Friday) and support some gosh darn great Australian heavy music.
Make Way For Man – Rites EP track listing: