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I find it’s very telling of one’s overall feelings towards a musical release – album, EP, or otherwise – that the worst possible thing you can say about it is that at times it’s just good.
See, Aussie youngbloods Diamond Construct will release their new EP on Monday, August 8th, and at the very worst it’s a good effort. But at its very best, it’s one of the finest local offerings you’ll see this year. The eight-track release is titled ‘Event Horizon’ (also the name of the best worst sci-fi/horror movie I’ve ever seen, if just for Sam Neill’s ham-fisted acting), and it is a damn fine listen. A dayumn fine listen!
Musically the band carries a razor sharp, technical nature that’s reminiscent of Fear Factory and After The Burial. But instead of simply being a wanky, over the top tech-metal band that Sumerian Records will sign in nanoseconds, they’ve mixed in the current metalcore sound of acts such as In Hearts Wake and August Burns Red, just minus the vast instrumental sections on each song. This potent sub-genre mixing means that these four young lads from Taree, of all the damn places, are standing tall with a killer release that while not unique or revolutionary, is leagues ahead of bands twice their age. I meant that last part in regards to both the band’s lifespan and the band members actual ages. Because music really does fly in the face of ageism, does it not?
Rhetorical questions aside, kick-starting EP #2 is ‘Cryosleep’ and ‘The Omega Project’. These two songs showcase a band that is infatuated with ridiculously tight drums, chest-rumbling low end, down-tuned guitar chugs, deep, throaty screams and a few tasteful breakdowns. Just like Freddy vs. Jason, this duo provides a solid, competent introduction, but while decent, they’re nothing that extraordinary or memorable. However, it’s not until the truly exceptional single, ‘Feel The Sun’, that the band lights the coal fires and elevates everything from ‘good’ up to ‘great’. This song has an out-fucking-standing finale, with epic tremolo picking, higher pitched screams and a grander sense of space and ambiance that creates a brilliant, chillingly emotive climax. Brilliant and chilling like the ending of Spike Jonze’s Her, just you know, in song format. (Okay, I’m gonna stop with the movie references now, I promise).
Unlike the severely average Oculus VR headset, ‘Oculus’ really delivers the goods and then some. Surging drum grooves, a superb interweaving of clean and unclean vocals, and some really well-placed panning on the guitars all makes for a terrific end. Moreover, one song that really sticks out is ‘The Thought Complex’, which features a killer guest spot from CJ McMahon (ex-Thy Art Is Murder). His part adds so much to the track, so much so that it almost overshadows vocalist Kynan Groundwater. Almost. My only gripe with ‘The Complex Thought’ is that it has one of those damn glass breaking sound effects in it. Like, really? Is this 2008 again? Looking past shitty, overused samples, it’s a great tune nonetheless.
The next two songs, ‘Spirit‘ & ‘Starlight‘, much like the EP’s introductory pair, are solid tunes but they aren’t necessarily remarkable standouts Although, I will say that closer ‘Hypernova‘ caps off everything very well and shows that not only do these youngins know how to write good songs, they know how to build them up, how to naturally let them flow, and then how to wind them down. Strong songwriting at all points of the process is such a key thing, and these dudes really seem to get it! Nothing ever feels forced here.
So while the quartet really hits their stride with the middle portion of this EP, things never ever fall into the lackluster territory. There’s a consistency here that, again, most bands twice their age just do not have, or are just not capable of because they’re a pack of utter scrubs.
Finally, in terms of its sonics, ‘Event Horizon’ is as crisp as can be. I really believe that a great mix can be best defined by one that doesn’t make you over-think it and one that reinforces the songs in a complimentary, subconscious way. With that being said, this is a very mechanical, very…sterile sound. It definitely works in favor of DC’s style, but it’s a double-edged sword as the overall tone can be a little too cold; a little too sterile. Now, that isn’t an exclusive issue to this EP , as countless other releases have a similar aesthetic with their production and mixes. Perhaps it’s more telling of the ubiquitous state that certain plugins, presets, and ideas that are used within the audio engineering world (remember the glass breaking sample?).
Oh, and the fact that we have a limited number of musical notes at our disposal. But something tells me that won’t be changing anytime soon…
‘Event Horizon’ is a precise, surgical strike to the senses. With this new eight-track release, Diamond Construct have struck a great balance between your everyday metalcore jams and elitist-silencing technical metal. It’s a massive step up from their debut EP, that’s for sure. Although sometimes it’s a little too sharp and tight for its own good and can feel too mechanical, but that’s a small caveat for what is ultimately a damn good release. ‘Event Horizon’ is a terrific effort from Taree’s finest metal band. Just make sure that this doesn’t all go tits up anytime soon, okay lads?
The Omega Project
Feel The Sun
The Complex Thought (ft. CJ McMahon)
‘Event Horizon’ is out Monday, August 8th. Diamond Construct are currently on tour with Incentives & Coves. Dates and info here.