Though formed in 2014 it is the last eighteen months or so that the buzz around Welsh metallers Black Water Chemistry has really intensified. It has been a time where the band itself says that they have been “working tirelessly to cement their style and increase their fan base”, success of that intent in the first aspect now strikingly heard within and in the second poised to be ignited by new EP Return To Ashes.
Tagged as metalcore but with much more to its template of imagination and adventure, the Black Water Chemistry sound is a cauldron of aggressive energy and inventive enterprise. It has maybe yet to breach the walls of true uniqueness but as the four tracks within Return To Ashes shows, it has an individuality which is as memorable as it is unpredictable. Formed by blood brothers in vocalist Matt Saunders and lead guitarist Chris Saunders and completed by bassist Gizz, rhythm guitarist Murph, and drummer Dan, the Newport hailing quintet embrace inspirations from the likes of Architects, Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, Chelsea Grin, August Burns Red, Mastodon, and Periphery to their creative breast. They are strands of influences which light up the band’s sound but more seems to spark Black Water Chemistry’s own individual endeavour.
The EP opens up with new single Oracles. Instantly ears are under a barrage of predacious rhythms but equally are wrapped in a wiry mesh of grooves hunted by ravenous riffs. Vocals come with matching force and attitude but soon reveal great diversity as clean strains alternate and unite with throaty squalls. Already that richness of sound within its metalcore breeding is working away, enticing and intriguing as simultaneously other aspects trespass the senses. Evolving through more placid but no less gripping moments before the track’s rock ‘n’ roll explodes it is an outstanding start and appetiser to the fresh impetus in the rise of Black Water Chemistry
The Last Iconoclasts follows, it also making a striking entrance as guitars and rhythms concoct a web of rabid temptation before vocals roar and croon to create the song’s very own lure of unpredictability and imagination. The punk ferocity of its predecessor is accentuated within the second offering as too its raw metallic animosity, the song prowling almost stalking the listener at times and seducing them with melodic elegance and angst in others.
There is no let-up in the great mercurial attack of the band’s instinctive imagination and feral enterprise within next up Masterstroke. The song is borne of a more heavy rock/melodic metal seeding but again an untamed but skilfully crafted maelstrom of extreme metal nurtured ill-content. Grooves and riffs tease and nag as rhythms stalk and bite, every twist and turn an ear luring confrontation before the EP concludes with the hellacious fire of its title track. If the last song nagged in certain ways, its successor simply harasses, rewarding its imaginative malefaction with a beguiling entanglement of senses infringing adventure and unexpected twists and turns; at times roaring like a natural union between Periphery, Bring Me The Horizon, and Reuben.
It is a fine end to a release which will surely thrust Black Water Chemistry forcibly into much thicker and eager recognition and attention. Excellent from the off and even more striking by the listen Return To Ashes is a wake-up call to the UK metal scene fuelled by a potential which will conceivably take the band beyond those boundaries.
Return To Ashes is released August 31st.
Pete RingMaster 29/08/2018
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