Earth Caller – Degenerate


Artist

Album

Degenerate

Label

Independent

Year

2015

For Fans Of

Hellions, Deez Nuts, Stray From The Path

Summary

Revolution has never sounded so fucking sweet.

Rating

90 / 100

There are very few hardcore and metalcore bands in the Australian music scene that are keeping political and social awareness going. Sure, Right Mind did it but they have sadly called it quits. Hellions have some of those themes in their music, but their sound is much more varied than that. Outright are probably the closest group that come to mind, but now there’s a younger band stepping up to the plate to call out our government on their bullshit and to help incite a revolution, or, at least, a protest or two. So please give a warm welcome to Melbourne’s new blood, Earth Caller.

In a nutshell, this band is a mix of hardcore in the vein of Deez Nuts and Hellions (with some much needed low growls put for good measure), with the in-your-face aggression and politically-themed songs reminiscent of US acts like Stray From The Path and Stick To Your Guns, that’s all tied up nicely with a solid, well-delivered brand of metalcore; breakdowns, the heavy riffs and chuggs, the vocal style, etc. So, while their sound is definitely generic, they more than make up for it with a very engaging and energetic sound that actually has something to fucking say.

That, dear readers, is what really sets this four-piece and their slick brand of hardcore apart; the themes with which their songs touch upon. The band doesn’t shy away from some big topics that are actually relatable to Australian listeners, with lyrics that deal with the party we elected – ‘I’ve seen the face of evil, we elected it’ (‘Dictated, Not Lead’). Or even dealing with the reality of why asylum seekers flock to our shores and our inability to help – “Crippled by debt with a family to feed, the saddest truth is for some this is the dream, seeking refuge from war and poverty (‘The Faceless King’). This really is a rare occurrence of a release having both the style AND the substance to back it up.

Like a lot of hardcore releases this year, there are a couple of guest appearances that really help to beef up this effort. First up is a short, but sweet ‘Fuck you’ to crooked cops of the world from Dre Faivre of Hellions on the menacingly heavy but still melodic number, ‘Your Enemy’. That track in particular is a big stand out of the record, and most likely why the band put it out as a single and made a music video for it. Next up is The Getaway Plan’s Matthew Wright on ‘The Great Divide’ whom lends his soft, ethereal vocals to a building, melodic intro that feels like very much a song from his own band. This then contrasts strongly with the solid, raw shouts of vocalist Josh Collard throughout for a powerful song that feels like the fuck child of both groups. Then on the last track ‘Exile, Exist’, Comeback Kid’s man man Andrew Neufeld continues to expand his always growing list of guest appearances by lending his signature voice to this banger that helps to round out one fantastic record. One fantastic record that has actually been a fair few years in the making.

For a local band’s debut album this is surprisingly upper tier. The instrumentation is tight and is well-balanced between being melodic and uplifting, and then also being heavy and aggressive. A lot of bands, local and international, fuck this formula up royally, but Earth Caller have managed themselves very well, and, as a result, things remain incredibly enjoyable and consistent throughout these ten songs. Shit, even the instrumental track, ‘8Hz‘, which leads into ‘Exile, Exist‘, feels necessary and quaint, rather than dull and in the way.

Interestingly enough, if you were to compare this album to the new Stick To The Guns release, ‘Disobedient‘, which is also very similar in its themes, you’d find that STYG strayed frequently between their mainstream sound and their underground hardcore tones, making it a somewhat messy experience overall. Well, that doesn’t apply here as Earth Caller remain on-point throughout and they don’t delve into overly poppy, catchy choruses, and that’s for the better in this case as everything remains concise and cohesive and above all, heavy.

Finally, a big mention needs to go to the band’s guitarist Lachlan Monty, who also plays for Perth’s poetic metallers Make Them Suffer. With this band, the man really shines. ‘Exile, Exist’ and ‘Dictated, Not Lead’ are just two examples of where his skill dominates, but there’s much more to find and enjoy across the album for all of the guitarists out there. So dig the fuck in, peeps.

Conclusion

Earth Caller’s debut album is a resonating call-to-arms to wake the fuck up. It’s an incentive to stand up and take notice of the shit that is spouted from politicians, to always be mindful of your rights when wrongly persecuted by the law, and to never stop trying to change the world for the better, even if that seems nearly impossible. Oh and to mosh like your fucking life depends on it when those breakdowns kick in. ‘Degenerate’ is a release that feels familiar in its sound, yet is almost unique in its subject matter for local acts. It’s also an album that feels leagues ahead of what a young, up and coming band could produce, but that seems more like a testament to the backing and potential that this band possess. With the band opening Unify Gathering earlier this year, having just recently performed at Sydney’s Shorefest, and being the opening support for Deez Nuts’ upcoming national stint, you’ll more than likely be getting closely acquainted with the boys in Earth Caller very soon. Don’t be shy, they don’t bite.

 

Tracklisting

1. Rise

2. Your Enemy

3. Behind The Veil

4. The Faceless King

5. The Great Divide

6. Shadow Dance

7. Dictated, Not Lead

8. Degenerate

9. 8Hz

10. Exile, Exist

 

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