Nicolas Cage Fighter – The Bones That Grew From Pain
Released: July 22, 2022
Nicholas Moriarty // Vocals
Justin Ellis // Guitars
Tom Bardwell // Bass
Matt Davenport // Drums
After sporadic single and EP releases throughout the last ten years, Nicolas Cage Fighter’s debut full-length, The Bones That Grow From Pain, is finally on the verge of dropping. Having signed to the international powerhouse Metal Blade Records, the Ballarat-based band aim to build on the momentum from their excellent 2021 EP Cast You Out.
Like a lot of the great acts, Nicolas Cage Fighter’s sound draws from a variety of influences without leaning too heavily into one in particular. There’s definitely a strong vein of hardcore running through their music, as well as 90s metal; particularly death and groove – so the blanket term ‘metalcore’ could loosely be used to describe them. That being said though, they are substantially heavier, dirtier and more menacing than a lot of other groups that fall into that category.
The excellent opener ‘Grey Eye’ starts with building snare rolls behind a wall of feedback before moving into a thick, nasty groove. It’s a straight-to-the-point way to kick of proceedings, rooted in pounding drums and riffs, before climaxing with a massive ending breakdown. First single ‘Shrine of Wire’ picks up the pace, boasting a great heavy chorus with a simple, yet memorable lead guitar hook that doesn’t sacrifice any of the aggression. It’s not hard to imagine how massive it would sound live, and the instantly head-moving tune is a great and obvious choice for the record’s first single.
‘Coughing Nails’ starts off with real bounce, before the rest of the song moves into more familiar territory, with frontman Nicholas Moriarty given a solid bed to lay his feral barks and growls over. ‘Static Abyss’ is the album’s most metal track, packing lots of double kicks and trem-picked guitars. It contains a more-melodic chorus, with some great chord changes and a touch of post-metal with the lead guitars, before the excellent ending passage brings yet another filthy breakdown.
Despite being on the USA’s biggest metal label, there’s something almost modestly impressive that Nicolas Cage Fighter didn’t choose to go overseas or enlist internationally acclaimed production staff. Everything was done locally, with Kye Blomeley from K.B Audio – also from Ballarat – handling recording, production and engineering duties with the band themselves. The Bones That Grow From Pain is raw, real and massive sounding – in other words; absolutely perfect for their muscular style of music.
It’s not a faultless release though, with ’Weeping Sores’ as the album’s first misstep. It’s initially a fast assault with a real crossover-thrash style to it, but loses its way with the introducing of a somewhat hackneyed bridge that steps deep into nu-metal turf. From here on out the LP gets a little same-y, with ‘Foundation’ and ‘Heretic’s Vow’ a bit underwhelming. They’re not without their charm though, with the latter’s slight blackened edge adding a nice new flair; it’s a shame it’s not featured heavier throughout the song. Things pick up again from the great closer ‘A Great Ruinous Deed’, which has a mournfully melodic atmosphere that helps take it to the next level. The octave guitar section in the chorus is a nice touch, as is the addition of clean six-strings toward the end of the number.
The Bones That Grew From Pain may not be the finest release of the year, but it’s undeniably a world-class record from Nicolas Cage Fighter. While it does tail off a little on the back end, it’s still a massive slab of chest-beating heaviness, tailor-made for the live stage. With the combination of the group’s huge potential and Metal Blade’s support, Nicolas Cage Fighter have all the makings to create a big impact both in their own backyard and in the international heavy music scene.
Nicolas Cage Fighter – The Bones That Grew From Pain tracklisting:
1. Grey Eye
2. Shrine of Wire
3. Coughing Nails
4. Static Abyss
5. The Bones That Grew From Pain
6. Weeping Sores
7. Compound and Fracture
9. Heretic’s Vow
10. A Great Ruinous Deed