Palisades – Reaching Hypercritical (Album Review)

Palisades – Reaching Hypercritical
Released: July 22, 2022


Brandon Elgar // lead vocals
Xavier Adames // lead guitar
Matthew Marshall // rhythm guitar
Aaron Rosa // drums


Official Website

US rock group Palisades have been doing the rounds for a few records over the past decade, and I was only ever aware of the band, never completely paying attention. However, they’ve only recently reappeared onto my radar after a friend chucked them on Spotify one day in the car. Since then, I’ve gotten pretty hooked on these guys. They’re an act who aren’t afraid of building their engaging hard rock offering with layers of electronic beats, as regular listeners might signify on singles such as ‘High and Low‘ and ‘Let Down‘. Having already released more than a few full-lengths on Rise Records, a sign of even bigger things to come is on the horizon, with their fifth album, Reaching Hypercritical hoping to see the New Jersey post-hardcore act soar into the unknown.

Upon first listen, Reaching Hypercritical instantly took me back to mid-2000s emo/rock and I found pretty close similarities with UK emo icons Asking Alexandria. Brandon Elgar makes his debut as lead vocalist on this album, his style sitting almost on par with Danny Worsnop (on Asking Alexandria’s later releases), especially on the punchy opener ‘My Consequences‘. Effortlessly continuing into the album’s title track ‘Reaching Hypercritical‘, the guitars deliver a tough blend of post-hardcore energy that will easily sit seamlessly next to Issues and Architects. Perfectly summing up the entire record in one song, Palisades do their best in creating their most vulnerable yet authentic selves yet.

While ‘Invincible (Die Down)‘ takes the listener on a journey of self-discovery, ‘Your Misery‘ pulls in the band’s earlier body of work with an edgy blend of catchy electronic post-hardcore that sees Palisades take on 2000s nu-metal/rock. This is a pretty slick vibe — like an intriguing mix of nostalgia and new-age metalcore intertwining into one. Elgar’s vulnerability and raw emotion is passed on into our hearts as we take in the softer melodies of ‘Without You‘, while ‘Better‘ pushes us to do what the band are seeking in 2022 — to be our best selves yet.

The real highlight of Reaching Hypercritical though is the headbanging explosion that is ‘Sick of the Attitude‘. That massive intro gave me incredible Alpha Wolf energy, I began to wonder if the US metalcore scene is finally taking influence from their Australian counterparts. While much of the track offered tantalising melodies, it’s the bounce inbetween the highs and lows of the heavier moments that I feel is destined to be a Palisades staple. Honestly. It’s a brilliant song that is not to be missed.

The band haven’t forgotten their past though, with ‘Fade Away‘ luring us in with a softer emo-pop melody before the guitars launch into a towering wave of unwavering emotion. The musicianship between the guys on this record shows, with Brandon’s vocals fitting in effortlessly against the empowering hard rock instrumentals from start to finish. Take the album’s lead single ‘Sober‘, for instance. I got a bit of an Architects vibe here; even so, that punchiness from the opening track sits so nicely against that sincere, yet insecure emotion that Elgar is singing about here.

Reaching Hypercritical pulls in some of the band’s most towering emotions, and the thumping yet soother melody of ‘Closure‘ will hit you on a different level. It almost feels like an outro, before the guitars take a hit one last time, offering us a taste of the talent that we’ve just been exposed to through eleven tracks.

If this is the first you’ve heard of Palisades, I implore you to step back and get around their earlier records as soon as you finish listening to this record. While some songs continue to build on the band’s 2018 effort, Erase the Pain, Reaching Hypercritical brings together the best of the band’s past work into a seamless offering of eleven tracks. This album is one of the reasons why Palisades are one of the most consistent post-hardcore acts coming out of the US right now. Hopefully, we will see the boys touch down in Australia one day!

Palisades – Reaching Hypercritical tracklisting:

1. My Consequences
2. Reaching Hypercritical
3. Invincible (Die Down)
4. Your Misery
5. Without You
6. Better
7. Fray
8. Sick Of The Attitude
9. Fade Away
10. Sober
11. Closure

Rating: 8/10
Reaching Hypercritical is out now through Rise Records. Grab it here
Review By Tamara May @citylightstam

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About Tamara May (1086 Articles)
Wall of Sound's Head of Album Reviews. Weekend Content. Pop Punk Enthusiast.