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On the brooding, burly hardcore noises of ‘Pain,’ Falcifer are all about that groove; what will get people moving at their live shows; what channels enough aggression for these five songs to speak truth about self-hatred, inner-pain carried just under the surface, festering depression, and in some ways, learning to love oneself. As the Aussie band’s first release in four long years, their time away spent crafting this new material wasn’t lost time nor a wasted effort. For ‘Pain‘ is not at all a pain to get through. (Thank you, thank you, I’m here all night.)
Opener ‘Hostile‘ is just that: pure fuckin’ hardcore hostility over slamming riffs and formidable screams that lay waste to all standing in their path. The heavy two-stepping grooves of ‘Hostile‘ also give way to a high-octave guitar lead that then drops you into the proverbial meat-grinder with a dissonant-laden breakdown section. Then, the introductory lo-fi guitar swell of ‘Burning‘ is all about getting one ready for the kill, and once the song’s chunky fight-riff kicks off a limb-swinging mosh-fest for its finale, Falcifer has never sounded this confident or heavy.
I find it to be a near-universal truth that any song which kicks off with only a drum beat and nothing else for the first few measures, will, at the absolutely very least, be a pretty damn good time. That much is definitely true of the third song, ‘Impurity.’ It’s here that the punchy, gnarly bass tone and aggro playing of bassist Alex Henderson is a real highlight, as is the simple but bloody solid performances from guitarists Jarrad Russell and Kym Pettman.
In another life, the titular, bouncy cut of ‘Pain‘ could’ve been an almighty Kublai Khan barn-burner: big metallic riffs and bigger savage grooves – like the wicked, down-picked instrumental assault after 2:10 complete with bass blowouts – alike building up one of the South Australian crew’s finest songs yet. It also highlights just how much weight, grit and bellowing power that vocalist Stephaine Marlow has behind her voice; something that was instantly noticeable when we caught the band at Unify 2019.
‘Demise,’ is more of the same as its previous four brethren, just dialing everything up to ten come it’s crushing closing moments. While the intro to ‘Demise‘ and its preceding eponymous sibling feature eerily similar introductions, ‘Demise‘ instead explodes following a snappy snare flam, flicking up the tempo into speedier, busier chomps instead of the steam-rolling, hardcore pulverization that the band literally just finished doing. After a quick punk section, the jumpy double-kick hits during its middle-eight are a refreshing little section that injects even more bounce and groove into a band’s sound who clearly know how to keep that head-bobbing shit on-lock.
There is not a single shred of originality to Falcifer’s first lot of new material in four years, but that’s more than okay. With the sheer saturation and frequency of heavy hardcore like this, bands of this ilk (Australian or otherwise) range from either ‘entirely forgettable’ to ‘pretty alright.’ In the case of ‘Pain,’ Falcifer land strongly right at the latter end of that spectrum. As ‘Pain’ is familiar and simplistic yet utterly intimidating, groovy metallic hardcore done very well in the modern age. For the Adelaide four-piece are very competent at it, nailing a tried-and-tested sound better than many of their local peers. This is a five-track EP that’s full of dark, heavy thoughts and even darker, heavier-sounding tunes, making Falcifer’s future within Australian heavy music, ironically enough, quite bright, despite the bleak personal sentiments that exist behind ‘Pain.’
‘Pain’ is out Friday, March 6th: