Though seemingly tagged as metalcore, Canadian fury Lucid Skies has a presence which primarily forges ferocious hardcore with metallic spite and melodic enterprise, the resulting sound which not only grabs attention but gives it an exhausting uncompromising examination which veers from imaginative seduction to unbridled and bruising antagonism. The Hounds EP is the impressive second release from the Edmonton quartet, following the Grudge Match EP of last year, and though it is not faultless it is promise soaked and strikingly invigorating.
Formed in 2009, Lucid Skies took little time in drawing notice their way with a sound inspired by the likes of Hatebreed, Comeback Kid, and Holly Springs Disaster. Started by guitarist Jesse Berger, the band was soon at full complement as Berger enlisted vocalist Nick Ogden, bassist Sam Jackson, and drummer Justin Smith. With impressive live performances seeing the band share stages with bands such as with Fall City Fall, Blind Witness, Fall In Archaea, and Breaking Fourth Wall, the foursome has continually enhanced their reputation, the debut EP sparking additional keen attention which Hounds can only accelerate as the band continues its emergence.
The self-released Berger produced EP, opens with Shotgun Mouthwash and immediately has ears and senses up for its raucous confrontation. A guitar grazing behind a vocal sample makes the first move before expelling a sonic breath around inviting crisp rhythms and the snarling vocals of Ogden. Group shouts pounce to back up the frontman to great effect and with riffs grilling the senses and rhythms building their punchy commanding presence the track sears the air with metal bred sinews and punk spite. Musically the song sees the band play with their intent and ideas to make for an appealing if restrained adventure, certainly compared to other tracks on the release, whilst the breakdowns and predacious attack of the riffs only add to the lure of the strong if unspectacular starter.
As soon as Left Hook makes its presence known you sense that something extra is at work, an indefinable essence maybe but one which adds an experimentation and bravery absent from its predecessor. The artillery of drum invention from Smith is an instant contagion whilst the grazing riffery only adds to the developing drama and intrigue. Into its muscular and provocative stride, grooves mark the heavy charge of the song whilst the vocals bring the expected venom with relish and power. The bass of Jackson is a throaty bestial stalking within this mix adding to the impressive incitement, though the breakdown to the back end of the song is clumsy but as the promo used was digital one wonders if it might have been a glitch in the transfer. Nevertheless the closing straight hardcore rage brings a great track to a healthy finale and a certain hungry appetite awoken for the EP.
With Eyes is the best song on the release and the most inventive, its body a continual movement of ideas and bold design. Its opening is straight forward enough, a decent hardcore raging but once it drops into a djent inspired prowling of the senses with the guitar a savage provocateur it ignites, grooves and hooks taking us on a keener escapade. Like in the previous songs things wait until the second half to whip the ground from under the feet and light up the imagination with unexpected skilful quests of exploration. The bass is unleashed to intimidate the ears alone, apart from the corruptive influence of the excellent beats of Smith, it developing a delicious groan to its notes which is matched and accentuated by the guitar to addictive effect, so much so that as the track returns to its initial fiery foraging of the ears it is at first a disappointment, but one soon forgotten as the track unloads the rest of its excellent bruising.
Hounds does not venture into the unknown or the band’s imagination enough for personal tastes, that shown up by the third track and its success when doing so, but also the vocal delivery of Ogden is something needing some enterprise too. His attack is excellent and tones as nasty and corrosive as you would wish but also needing some variation to really shine. It is a genre thing, hardcore and metalcore, to unleash one directional squalls so it is hard to be too critical but it is no accident that the best bands do find a vocal diversity to join a musical variation, something Lucid Skies certainly owns.
Completing the EP is Count Me Out, a track with mountainous rhythms and a spiralling sonic beckoning which is soon badgering the ear with intensive and merciless voracity. A metal seeded antagonist with a tempestuous appetite and combativeness, the song like the opener does not sparks the fires as the other two making up Hounds but undoubtedly continues the marking out of Lucid Skies as a stirring force to keep a close eager eye upon. The potential and existing promise of the band is impossible to ignore and their suspected ascent one which will have a hungry audience in times ahead with the Hounds EP, a name Your Own Price release at the band’s Bandcamp profile, an excellent place to climb on board the ride.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from