Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain featuring on a deathcore band’s new song is the great surprise I needed in 2021.
One of the rare new deathcore records that I haven’t minded in 2021 is ‘Lifeblood‘ by Canada’s Brand Of Sacrifice. The Toronto band have all the usual hallmarks of the genre’s current form: the one-upping breakdowns, gurgling vocals, symphonic moments, etc. Y’all know how they sound already. To their credit, they streamline these ideas better than most of their contemporaries, and as per ‘Dawn,’ they aren’t afraid to get noisier and industrial in some cool ways. Either way, the group have been turning a lot of heads lately and that attention continues with the monstrous form of ‘Enemy.’
One of the better cuts from Brand Of Sacrifice’s new album was ‘Animal,’ whose violent me-vs-the-world plotline now sees a prequel story develop with the Joey Durango-directed visuals of ‘Enemy,’ a new bonus song from that LP. (The band also released a limited, now sold-out comic book for the short film behind ‘Enemy.’) As for that flashy short film, it’s not an original or particularly interesting tale of revenge and the ‘monster within’ trope, but I can appreciate the visual effort put in by Brand and Durango.
‘Enemy‘ kicks off with a heavy Mick-Gordon-inspired distorted attack of synths and guitars, an electronic tinge that was present on some songs off their aforementioned record. Then in comes their usual deathcore heaviness and the band wield it well, implementing a pretty decent pitched-singing chorus that doesn’t too out of left field for them. It’s a hectic and sometimes melodic, well-balanced track overall, complete with an immense breakdown in the back half. I also love the sudden rests and vocal lines of “ring” interjecting the rapid pace of the track in the second half to break it up nicely, lending it this awesome stop-start quality. (Something similar can be heard on The Plot In You’s latest single.) It’s solid stuff, one of Brand’s stronger tracks.
Outside of being a pretty cool deathcore track, what’s really eye-catching about ‘Enemy‘ is its guest star, none other than Underoath’s own Spencer Chamberlain. Some may scratch their heads at this guest appearance, and it’s definitely a surprise, but you’d have to be a proper fool to think that just because a band plays a certain style of music, that that’s the only music they listen to or grew up on. Because for most bands that just ain’t true, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Brand grew up on those older 2000s Underoath records and have some real respect for what Spencer and his pals create in that band. (Who just dropped ‘Hallelujah‘; new album ‘Voyeurist‘ out January 14th, 2022.)
Spencer comes in on the second verse after the first chorus and really holds his own against the band’s polished and punishing deathcore waves, feeling perfectly at home fronting such a heavy band. Given Spence’s great vocal work on records like ‘Lost In The Sound Of Separation‘ and ‘Disambiguation,’ his voice gelling with the extreme framework of a band like Brand Of Sacrifice makes total sense. He and Brand’s talented vocalist, Kyle Anderson, have their vocals mesh together at one point later in the track, and it fucking works. Check it all out below, friends: