For Fans Of
After my first impression piece of their new EP, I figured that I’d get stuck into the latest release from Melbourne’s The Great City in a full review. Because fuck it, why not?
Now, ‘I Will Survive Failure’ has been a long time coming. The last release anyone saw from these guys was 2014’s ‘My Heart Has Two Sides’. That release featured a nine-minute post-hardcore jam, a Hospital remix track AND a motherfucking 42-minute long ambient-noise piece that would make Trent Reznor weak at the knees. I shit you not.
It’s clear to anyone with eyes, or rather ears, that this band does what they want and they do it very well. This new EP is no exception.
Along with their ambient and atmospheric instrumental tendencies, which is spread out here in droves, the band’s main bread and butter is abrasive, old-school metalcore and post-hardcore. Seriously, it’s as if Norma Jean & Dance Gavin Dance teamed up to lay a severe beat down on an angrier, weirder La Dispute clone. The best example of that would be the vastly aggressive & cacophonous fourth track, ‘Glass Cannon‘.
On top of all that, add in a few extra clean guitar melodies, a couple of guest vocalists, and some incredibly emotional vocals deliveries and you’ve got one delicious sonic meal laid out before you. It’s this that makes The Great City’s sound so effective; they combine and cherry pick from already solid, well-established ideas to create an engaging, cohesive product. The result is a sound that the group can call their own, albeit to some small extent.
Now, as for that guest vocalist comment that I made earlier. I colloquially call this EP ‘We Will Collaborate With Half Of Belle Haven’ as Belle Haven’s vocalist David Vernon and their guitarists, Christopher Vernon (who also engineered the EP) & Daniel Marinakis, feature respectively across the release. That may seem a bit much, but each member from the fellow Melbourne act adds some real weight to their specific parts. Especially David Vernon commanding voice on the killer opening song, ‘I Know Who You Are And You Are Nothing’. And unlike the terrible segway that I’m about to employ, that first song flows very well into what is arguably the EP’s best tracks, ‘Nothing Is Alone‘.
This seven-minute banger is easily one of the band’s finest creations. Not just for this release, but for all of their material thus far. It really is their “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (because Nirvana comparisons aren’t totally overdone, aren’t they?). That comparison definitely isn’t in the song’s sound or style but in the sense that ‘Nothing Is Alone‘ has the potential to become synonymous with their name and vice versa. It’ll be their staple song if you will. The intro’s ear-perking guitar riff and the female vocals mixing harmoniously with the throaty screams create such a surreal moment that you may just have to pinch yourself to check you’re awake. Or you may just repeatedly slam your head into the nearest wall to try to get over how fucking good this song is! Whatever works for you.
The introduction’s sheer quality and powerhouse deliveries are consistently replicated throughout as the song develops and evolves over it’s remaining six minutes. Hell, even when the track crescendos higher and higher only to crash down into this chilled out electronica section was just sweeter icing on the cake. Actually, that brings me to a great point about this band…
No, not that they like cake*. I was talking about their song lengths, you dingleberry!
See, despite the band’s affinity for longer than usual compositions (as far as the local scene goes), they always maintain your attention, they always deliver the goods, and each section of any given song always feels one hundred percent necessary. So whether a song is just over three minutes long or over eight minutes long, The Great City always seem to knock it right out of the park.
Finally, the one “wild card” track here is ‘The Shadow Of The Past Holds The Future’. This…song is a harsh noise piece where the stems have been seemingly stretched, reversed, inverted, distorted and completely fucked with to their absolute breaking point. (Or as the band has pointed out to me, just fucking with a huge signal chain of guitar pedals. Still cool, though). Excluding the atmospheric swells, the track sounds like those old shitty fire-burning sound effects from PlayStation 1 games, except here it’s somehow musical and strangely captivating. Moreover, about halfway through this piece, these eerie reversed vocals appear (which are actually the vocals from the intro of ‘Nothing Is Alone‘, only reversed) and their inclusion creates a truly dark and haunting timbre amongst what is already an immensely oppressive soundscape. It’s easily the most unconventional song on offer. But once again, it shows a band succeeding in doing whatever the fuck they want, whether anyone else listens or not.
And I can totally get behind that.
With ‘I Will Survive Failure’, The Great City have delivered their grand sermon unto the world, and we are all the congregation. This is not your average local band, but something so, so much more. This EP is truly exceptional and it fills me with hope for humanity and our current world, a world in which professional vaping is now a fucking thing, for Christ’s sake!
1. I Know Who You Are And You Are Nothing (ft. David Vernon)
2. Nothing Is Alone
3. Counting The Books While The Library Burns (ft. David Marinakis)
4. Glass Cannon (ft. Christopher Vernon)
5. The Shadow Of The Past Holds The Future
Start your worship of this band right here.
*Killyourstereo.com can not officially confirm or deny that The Great City do actually enjoy or dislike cake.