The bottom line to the new release from UK metalcore band Bury The Hatchet is frustration. The Chatham quintet has such promise whilst their new It Was Never Enough EP is a release which is so near to being something special but all one is left focused on is the abrasive negative effect of the vocals. Whether it is an accumulative effect of so many emerging bands simply screaming their lyrics so that this release is the straw that broke…etc it is hard to say but after continually listening to the EP we could not tell you lyrically what is going on or really care as to appreciate what is musically at times an impressive release listening was about blocking out that side of the songs. This is not meant as an attack on vocalist Ray Hughes but on the direction so many young new bands are going. For every dissenting voice there will be another basking in the vocal delivery of course but when it has the effect of nails down the blackboard maybe time for some invention?
Aside from that aspect though It Was Never Enough shows some excellent ideas and individual ability to inspire only promise for the band and especially in two songs show what a fine band Bury The Hatchet is, which obviously adds to the personal frustration. Formed in the closing weeks of 2012, the band has built a good name for themselves through sharing stages with bands such as Feed the Rhino, James Clever Quintet, Brotherhood of the Lake, TurboWolf, and Hildamay, and their debut EP For What It’s Worth. They are a name which most UK extreme metal fans are aware of which is a feat in itself for an independent band in a crowded market place. The new EP gives evidence to why with its at times imaginative creativity.
The release opens with the brief and wonderfully emotive instrumental title track. Lone piano within an orchestral breath it leads straight into the rampaging But We Still Keep Moving. Firm rhythms from Tom Davis lead the way whilst the guitars of Rich Norton and David Greenslade brew up a dusty loud of inciteful intrigue. Within a step the song erupts into a storming surge of ferocious riffs and pummelling beats before pulling back the trigger for the rasping clutches of Hughes to permeate the song. With a style to keep throat lozenges in business for decades he scores the sounds with acidic venom which at this point is not a problem, the song nicely spacing its varied aspects with intelligence and skill. Uncompromising and direct the song does not offer anything new to what they and others have before but it is more than palatable.
Protest comes next, a song with disguised progressive tendencies which unleashes a sprawling maelstrom of diverse ideas pulling away from its core but staying well within the frame work of the song to make an unpredictable and engrossing track. The bass of Casper Howes is a prowling presence which one would like to hear more from within the production but is always a formidable plus to the tracks and here he adds a great menacing depth to draw one away from the by now punishing vocals.
Next up 0411 continues the exploratory intent of the band and though it at times feels like its destination is not quite clear to the band it is an inspired and pleasing addition to the release and one of two songs with the closer, which leads one to almost expect the band to evolve into something special. It is more technical than the others and looks into new spheres for spicery which not only works but is welcome.
Broken Soul is easily the best song on It Was Never Enough and like its predecessor is unafraid to unravel sounds to twist them into new blistering invention, the sonic discordance which coats the melodic fires of the song irresistible and the bass pulses alongside the corrupting beats addictive. The track switches through technical metal essences, thrash flavoured surges, and progressive imagination within the fire of aggression to leave one eager for more from the band those not as enthused as one would wish with the continued vocal direction.
Bury The Hatchet are definitely a band to keep an eye on with the EP showing good promise, one just hopes they and many other bands reassess their thoughts on the vocals.
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