The Banner – Greying


Artist

Album

Greying

Label

Good Fight Records

Year

2014

For Fans Of

Terror - Baptists

Summary

The Banner are back and better than ever.

Rating

90 / 100

The excessive use of breakdowns, chugging and auto-tuned (sorry, pitch adjusted) cleans in metal and hardcore has stripped the authenticity away from many of the genres’ trending artists. Refreshingly, The Banner’s ‘Greying’ has disregarded scene fads and filtered the best aspects of each genre into a triumphant infusion of both.

Needless to say (and as the album’s title indicates), ‘Greying’ is indeed dark. Its metallic themes are potent on ‘Circle of Salt’, which has ritualism written all over it: in its name, and in its beats. Reflectively, ‘Unbaptized’ crystallises the subject of religion into an aggressive proclamation of untamed hardcore.

But, despite the fact that ‘Circle of Salt’ preaches that ‘it never gets better’ and ‘The Dying of the Light’ can only be pigeonholed as we’re-all-going-to-hell-core, ‘Greying’ is far from hopeless. The venomous aggression of songs like the jet-black-horror-track ‘Crippling Despair’ and the fast-paced ‘A Quiet Corner’, as well as the ferocious ‘VII’ feeds off the angst of hardcore to deliver a satisfying catharsis to listeners.

At the same time, ‘Greying’ possesses surprises and terror – ‘Bones to Dust’ segues into a guitar solo that’s cruisy enough to be idiosyncratic in the territory of hardcore. On top of that, ‘She Upon the Black Wolf’ embeds icily high screams that will chill your bones.

Another surprise is the respite of songs like ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Send Me Down’. They’re the only tracks that lack absolute screaming, which offers the same disconcerting relief one might feel during a pause in a mugging. Amid the eeriness lies taints of lo-fi indie and slight industrial.

Perhaps the closer, ‘Sunset’, is the best example of the function of ‘Greying’ – not only does it make you want to brood, headbang and charge at someone in a circle pit, it’s also a proposition of the places that music can go when it isn’t tied up in whatever ‘the kids are listening to.’

In that way, it offers the metalcore scene an opportunity to re-discover possibilities.

Conclusion

‘Greying’ is an effective embodiment of the value of music that hasn’t been written to sell t-shirts and generate catchy mosh-cries.  It’s tumultuous, experimental, and a brutal experience that will make your heart race. Try it.

Tracklisting

1. The Dying of the Light

2. Circle of Salt

3. Crippling Despair

4. Sunlight

5. Unbaptized

6. A Quiet Corner

7. Send Me Down

8. VIII

9. She Upon the Black Wolf

10. Bones to Dust

11. Sunset

 

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