Lycanthrope – Hydra (EP Review)
Lycanthrope – Hydra
Released: April 28, 2023
Daniel Grieg / Vocals
Brett Scott / Guitar
Jason Salvini / Drums
Scotty Wright / Guitar
Matthew Stoja / Bass
Aiden Lee / Guitar & Backing Vocals
Aussie metalcore is an impressively large scene these days, with bands from north to south and coast to coast. It’s not easy to stand out amongst such high-quality country mates but Newcastle’s Lycanthrope are coming in hot with this new EP. Having won the Australian/New Zealand leg of W:OA Metal Battle, they headed to the sacred ground and debuted at Wacken Open Air 2022. There’s no doubt the bigger stage has given the fellas confidence to chase their dreams and Hydra is a four-track release that showcases their ambition.
They’re well versed in the arts of metalcore, as demonstrated by the ferocious ‘Built on Glass’. The triple-guitar attack leads the way with vocalist Daniel Grieg barking alongside them. He opens his singing voice on the chorus, elevating the track from brutal onslaught to live anthem. It’s a personal track, clearly written with someone (or a type) in mind, asking “how does it feel to be so hollow?” The tempo change hits hard too, giving drummer Jason Salvini a chance to get his kicks in before the inevitable breakdown. It’s not groundbreaking but it’s damn good.
The breakdowns don’t stop on second tune ‘The Human Virus’, which just hammers from the start with a neck-snapping series of riffs. Notably the lyrics are more social conscious this time, and the Scott/Lee/Wright trio sound absolutely divine through their melodic leads. The guitarists really get their moment carrying the melody of ‘Move Mountains’, the kind of anthem metalcore bands know to pull out in the back half of a set to slow the pace a little and draw the crowd into the band’s world. It’s equal parts savage and melodic, with a hugely optimistic hook: “I would move all of these mountains, to keep you from harm’s way.”
OK it looks cheesy when you write it out like that but you need to hear Grieg sing it… Jesse Leach eat your heart out. Swoon. The Alive or Just Breathing era called and want their song back.
But wait – there’s more. Final track ‘Scenes Betrayed’ really ups the ante by crossing the growl/cleans streams and being catchy as hell. I was singing along to this one by the second chorus. It’s not quite radio-friendly, it’s still too heavy, though the band loosens up a bit and it’s a nice change from the more technical performance of the other songs. If you’re looking for something a wee bit lighter (think Alter Bridge) then start with the last song and go backwards.
And that’s it. It’s four songs, all of them a bit different from each other and a nice palette of great metalcore. There’s some classic genre breakdowns but more than just breakdowns and there’s lots of melody but it’s never not heavy. There’s just enough here to add new tunes to their live sets and grab the attention of any new fans whose ears are in the vicinity. See them now before they drop a second album and disappear overseas.
Lycanthrope – Hydra Tracklisting:
- Built on Glass
- The Human Virus
- Move Mountains
- Scenes Betrayed
Rating: 8 / 10
Hydra is out now – Get it here
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram).