Since the release of their first EP, Transitions back in 2012, the Fathoms sound has evolved as its line-up has equally changed and been revitalised. What has not changed is their ability to grab ears and attention and stir fresh new appetites for their inventive sound. New album Counter Culture is testament to that, its nine tracks a blazing roar and creative aggravation which captivates and gets the blood rushing through aggression pulsing veins.
The UK outfit soon sparked keen local attention with their melodic hardcore sound upon emerging in 2010 and quickly found themselves touring the UK and sharing stages with the likes of Legend, Set Your Goals, Polar, Dividing The Silence, Final Crisis, and Napoleon. Acclaim did not exactly hang around either especially once Transitions assaulted ears with their reputation taking another spurt with its successor Cold Youth in 2013. Both were bold and viciously imposing with a growing potential which blossomed within their Artery Recordings released debut album Lives Lived two years later. Hitting the USA, China, South Korea and Japan among regular jaunts across Britain and Europe, the Brighton hailing quintet has become a potent element in the UK hardcore scene.
Hindsight suggests the hints and clues were already there, certainly within the last album, but Fathoms’ sound has embraced greater metalcore traits over the past couple of years, the band straddling both styles with their punk metal furnace, and as Counter Culture reveals there is plenty more to that blend also. It opens up with Hate Preach, making a composed introduction as vocalist Max Campbell hits ears with his rap before the guitars of James Munn and Sam Rigden cast a persistent tide of abrasive riffs. It is a great start which only continues as the song merges nu and rap metal exploits with hardcore antagonism framed by the biting beats of drummer Lui Sarabia.
The potent starts quickly has ears keenly attentive, recent single Counter Culture stirring their appetites further with its metal bred imagination and punk infused quarrel. Melodic twists and clean vocal union with the rawer snarling tones of Campbell brings richer intrigue and captivation, the bass of Steve Cogden prowling it all with a brooding menace as the song grows an increasingly compelling web of flavours and imagination.
Latest video single B.E.L.I.E.V.E quickly follows; its body a heavier, dirtier, and more tempestuous proposal but just as content and skilled in contrasting its dark hues with melodic flames and harmonic enterprise. For personal tastes, it does not quite catch the imagination as its predecessor or other tracks within the album yet there is no denying its lures, especially its inescapably magnetic melodic.
Counter Culture is an album which seems to get bigger and bolder song by song, definitely each subsequent song made a greater thrilling impression on our appetites; the process continued at this point by the surly metal nurtured, ill-natured Fated. Its nu and rap metal dexterity gets right under the skin but equally its synth rock and punk spicing teases more impressed reactions before I’ve Been Trying To Leave exposes the band’s similarly adept progressive inclinations within its cantankerous character and imposing touch. It also has catchiness in its lighter side which is pop kissed but never more than a warm wash upon the instinctive ruggedness and spiky imagination of the band’s sound.
The calmer waters of Slip Away provides a new beguiling turn within the release, its presence like a more belligerent Silent Descent but with passages of pure melodic beauty around more volatile instincts and endeavour. It is just one more captivating moment within the album but soon eclipsed by the outstanding assault of The Spaces In Between. A trap of nu-metal design, the song twists and turns with dervish like mania and pugnacious attitude, the guitars dancing venomously on ears as the bass and vocals growl. In the midst of that inventive confrontation though, a spring of melodic and harmonic adventure flows, again Fathoms showing the new adventure in their sound and freshness in their imagination.
Next up No Compromise is an even moodier proposal; to be honest a truculent trespass of a song but one coloured with atmospheric grace as melodic suggestion weaves its bait for ears and imagination to embrace. With every passing second and unpredictable idea, the song grows in strength and impressiveness; pleasure joining the ascent until it departs to allow You Ain’t On What We On to bring things to a close.
The final track is a surge of punk dispute; an eye to eye combat which has the body bouncing and spirit raising its middle finger to the world. It is a fine end to an encounter which grows with every listen. Fathoms have maybe still to realise all that early potential but instead they have explored a whole new sphere of ideas and as Counter Culture proves, they are on a journey still easy to anticipate and enjoy.
Counter Culture is released December 1st.
Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017