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Local newcomers, Hails From Infinity, obviously don’t hail from the grand, expansive cosmos that exists above us. Like they’re some form of Lovecraftian Old One flying down from a higher plane of existence to crush our feeble, mortal minds. Although that would be pretty dope if they were. But no! The band actually hails from New South Wales, the South Coast area to be more precise. And as far as 2016 goes, Hails From Infinity recently released their new EP, ‘Paradigm‘, so let’s have a geez at it.
Now, no bullshit here: this four-track EP, while not perfect, is still a solid release. With only four songs to its one-word name, it’s a short run and it never overstays it’s welcome which makes for a clear, succinct listen. Less is often more, after all.
Of course, Hails From Infinity – whom I’m calling HFI now – may not be an original band but that don’t mean they’re a bad band, as ‘Paradigm‘ proves. ‘Push/Pull‘, ‘Sonder‘ (which has some real Sentinel-worship going on in it) and the title track are all decent tunes. This is a rather generic metalcore sound, but generic doesn’t mean ‘shit’, and you could do a lot worse with bands of this ilk. Now, not to undersell those three songs too much, but goddamn are they overshadowed by the only other song I haven’t mentioned yet – ‘Hedonic Treadmill’.
‘Hedonic Treadmill’ is the real standout track, with its consistent, exemplary mix of the band’s clean and heavy elements. It’s also a great example of how having a rock solid song structure, however conventional, and good songwriting with a strong delivery makes all the difference. You know, now that I think about it, songwriting is actually a lot like golf. It doesn’t mean shit if you can hit the ball far if you lack the right follow through and accuracy in your shots so you’re not just hitting into the fucking bunkers. So yeah, ‘Hedonic Treadmill’, go spin that shit!
One thing I really liked about this release was that you can really hear the Australian accent in the vocals, especially in the harsher vocal styles. To some listeners that may be a deal breaker, but I think that this gives the band a real sense of identity. Geographical identity in a band’s sound is something that I think’s been lost since the turn of the century for heavy music. Especially in the hardcore/metalcore realm. I blame the Internet for that, but then again, I love discovering new bands from across the world and looking up FAQ’s and lore video for Dark Souls and Bloodborne, so the web ain’t that bad.
Now, a good comparison of this Australian sound would be the first few releases from Sydney’s Perspectives. In fact, with the cleaner, more melodic moments on this release, you could almost mistake this for Perspectives. But then either the screams, breakdowns or the heavy guitar riffs hit and that notion goes right out the window, but you get what I mean. Oh, while we’re on those guitar riffs, there’s a damn good mix between the standard heavy chugs and melodic leads across the EP. There’s also some more technical moments that evoke bigger bands like Structures, and much like the new Save The Clock Tower album, it’s the guitars that really steal the show.
Now, what I was saying before that tangent on the guitars…? Ah, yes! Accents aside, the clean vocals here are rather solid and are very well polished, but the screams can be a little hit or miss at times. The more mid-range screams seem to fit a straight-up hardcore sound, which occasionally works well here. However, the lower screams don’t seem to be as low as they need to be to match the songs tunings and to reach the necessary impact. Sure, they come close but I can’t help feel as though some heavier, brutal lows wouldn’t have gone amiss here.
Finally, the band seems to really enjoy their metaphysical and philosophical lyrics, something I really dig about this genre but am slowly lamenting at the same time. These are backed up by a couple well-placed audio samples across the release (namely a short sample from Ramm Dass), which are nice touches. One lyric that really caught my attention was, “Your desire to be enlightened/You are the light. You must learn/At least as much as you teach“, from ‘Hedonic Treadmill‘. Oh, Alan Watts would be proud, indeed. HFI also urges the listener to not rely too heavily on a deity, that may or not may not exist, in the eponymous track with the line, “Only so much can be done from above to change the course of history“. Damn, put that last lyric on a shirt, lads.
Hails From Infinity may be a young, relatively new band, but there is some real potential here. Sure, a few of the screws may need to be tightened up before the next release and I think that with a heavier vocal delivery, HFI could be an even stronger act in the local scene. As ‘Paradigm’ represents the early days for these lads, I’m really interested to see where the band goes from here on in. For the time being though, get in on the ground level and have a suss.
3. Hedonic Treadmill