Written by: Izzy
Let me open this up by saying this was one of my most anticipated releases of early 2021, and that undoubtedly affects how you perceive a piece of media, for better or for worse.
Portrayal of Guilt caught my eye back in 2018 with their debut Let Pain Be Your Guide, which was a brutal, blistering piece of raw metallic screamo, and one of my favourite records of that year. With their latest LP We Are Always Alone they take a pretty logical trajectory sound-wise, doubling down on the black metal and sludge influences and creating a much more sinister and hateful sounding album, all while still keeping that distinctly ferocious metalcore and grindcore spirit underpinning. Everything sounds perfectly in order and it should be amazing, right?
Written by: Izzy
Svalbard are a relatively new face in the world of metal and punk, their first release having been unleashed upon the world in 2014. Since then, they’ve been a consistent talking point for both their gorgeous melodies and blend of neocrust, post-rock, screamo, and blackgaze, as well and their political stances, frequently angering basement-dwelling neckbeard metalheads who proceed to furiously write a tweet about how women are ruining metal--Oops, was gonna try and not get too political on this one. My bad.
When I Die, Will I Get Better? is in many ways a logical trajectory for the band. Elements of post-rock and blackgaze have always been present in their music, starting at their debut One Day This All Will End, becoming more pronounced on their amazing 2018 release It’s Hard to Have Hope, and finally reaching its climax here on their latest. Those influences have become pushed so far to the forefront to the point where I think calling them a neocrust/blackgaze band wouldn’t be too far off, but that descriptor would still be missing something.
As ye eagle-eyed readers may note, we published a review of this very same album, like, just a few days ago. However, we just couldn't deny Izzy--the Sleeping Village's self-proclaimed reviewer of all things screamy, dreamy, and inbetweeny--a chance to discuss the latest opus from Infant Island. Enjoy this review redux! - Ed.
Not too long ago I reviewed Infant Island’s latest EP, Sepulcher, and along with my mountains of praise for the band, I promised I would do a full-length write-up on the LP they had just announced, Beneath. I fully intended on fulfilling that promise, so here we are. I’ve been in love with this Virginia post-hardcore/screamo revival outfit since I first discovered them in 2018 with their self titled album, and so I cannot wait to talk about it. (Despite taking a little over a week to actually write this due to circumstances beyond my control.)
Sepulcher blew my mind, so I came into this with high hopes, and Infant Island certainly delivered. However, this is truly an example of an album I love, but think could’ve been something more, or maybe something else. That said, I want to end this review on a positive note, so I’ll begin with my few complaints.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
I first got into heavy music in my mid-teens, and by “got into heavy music” I mean found music that not only appealed to me, but also bothered my parents. (What’s the point of heavy music if it doesn’t cause your parents genuine concern?) Anyway, way back in the mid-’00s, when I was just a distant rumble, the heavy music of choice for the youths of the day was screamo and metalcore. CD players and primitive iPods were full of the sounds of bands like Underoath, The Used, From First To Last, and The Devil Wears Prada. Jeans were tight, lips were pierced, and hair was long and dyed black. These genres and styles fell out of favor right around the end of the decade, but screamo has had a bit of an underground resurgence in recent years. Infant Island, in particular, are a relatively new band that may prove that the genre isn’t entirely dead.
Written by: Izzy
Grindcore is a super divisive genre, I’ve only ever heard three kinds of responses when I ask people if they like grindcore.
A. "I love it! It’s the grossest, rawest, and most intense genre out there."
B. "Most of it is garbage, but there’s a handful of good bands, have you heard of Discordance Axis?"
Or C: "Ma’am this is a Tim Hortons please just take your coffee."
All of which are acceptable responses, but show a lack of understanding of what truly makes the genre so amazing. For me at least, true grindcore is the perfect fusion of punk energy and metal's ferocity. Now few albums do so flawlessly, even much of modern hardcore and metalcore in some way or another falls short of reaching this unrelenting nirvana. But grindcore? Grindcore is the one genre that knows how to harness that chaotic ecstasy and craft it into something that achieves that bliss amongst the madness.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!