For Fans Of
Over the years, in my eyes, the genre of hardcore has progressively gotten stale. The riffs start to sound the same; the vocalists start to blend together; and even the messages that some bands are trying to discuss with their music are starting to sound copied and pasted from the peers of old. So in a world of boring, similar-sounding albums, how does a band create something fresh? Well, you can direct that question to Brisbane-based hardcore act, Lifeblood. Because this is precisely what they have done with their new EP, the chaotic sounding and conviction-driven six tracks of ‘The Air In My Lungs‘.
There have not been many hardcore releases that I have enjoyed this past year, truth be told. Maybe it’s simply personal preferences or perhaps even my musical tastes shifting, but I just haven’t loved the genre as much as I have in the past. So, when I got the opportunity to hear the new Lifeblood EP, I honestly did not go in with high hopes. Needless to say, ‘The Air In My Lungs‘ came in with a bang and damn well kicked my ass for even losing faith in what a great effect hardcore can have on you. Pardon the pun, but it definitely breathed new air into my “lungs” regarding music like this, and it might just do the same for you.
A noticeable uniqueness of this EP comes from the slow, shifting tone as it forges onward. Now, I do not know if this was Lifeblood’s intention, but if it was, it was a genius idea. The EP starts out with pummeling, dissonant-laden riffs and the pounding drum fills with ‘Expand‘, a circle-pitting whirlwind of energy that does not let up. This sound continues for the first half of the EP, with energetic hardcore riffs, feet-moving breakdowns, and super-charged vocal deliveries. But the tone change really comes in the latter half of the third song, ‘Counter Intuitive‘, a heartbreaking track that paints a picture of someone deeply struggling with the enticement of their vices. Halfway through comes a break which remains until the end of the song; a hauntingly dark cadence of clean guitars leading a huge wash of heavy screams and breaking-apart drum patterns. This transitions into what is the heaviest and darkest track of the whole lot, ‘Oscillate‘, which uses angular riffs and fast-paced instrumentals to dive into the madness that our world has descended into; the hope we are losing within ourselves. With lyrics such as “speak, for the sake of speech/We’re all in love of the sound of our own voice”, this song just lets loose on a world encased with the issue of political turmoil and self-obsession. Then the very darkness that resonated so momentously at the end of ‘Counter Intuitive‘ lingers on in the damned heavy outro of ‘Oscillate‘.
With an ever-present descent occurring within the EP’s middle, it leaves you wondering what the hell is next. While the first half of the EP is great for what it is, the true musical genius is shown in the interlude and closer combo of ‘Air‘ and ‘Intimacy‘. Leading as the perfect transition between the previous track (‘Oscillate‘) and the closing song, ‘Air‘ adds suspense with eerie atmos; making me feel like there’s a monster lurking just around the corner. That “monster” is the massiveness of ‘Intimacy‘, which is for sure Lifeblood’s best work yet; showcasing some jaw-dropping musicianship. This song ditches the jagged, rough-and-tough yet still hardcore sound displayed up-till now, and welcomes in an almost atmospheric, melodic metalcore sound, with the tone of ‘Air‘ hanging throughout the piece. Intertwining clean riffs and booming chugs create a chaotic, emotional headspace of struggles with complicated relationship and self-hatred. “Tell me why I should share my hopes and dreams, implying that you care,” belts vocalist Dylan Clark, leaving this uncomfortable twang of sadness right in front of you. Especially as the track’s dynamic, spoken-word second-half leads into a back and forth battle of clean and distorted guitars tunnelling towards a huge climax. This was the moment ‘The Air In My Lungs‘ was all building toward from the start, and that final peak did not underwhelm!
‘The Air In My Lungs’ is a darkened, emotional rollercoaster of a near-perfected chaotic hardcore sound. To sleep on this would be foolish. Lifeblood is genuinely a band that I can see really exploding in the hardcore scene – both in Australia and abroad – if they keep pushing hard in this direction. This new EP really is a breath of fresh air, an injection of new blood into a sometimes stale and lifeless genre. And I cannot wait to see what’s next for this band!