A very impressive debut.
Perth up and coming melodic hardcore bands Surroundings released their debut record - 'Of Bane, Burden & Change' - just last month and holy fucking shit is it a great listen! Mixed and mastered by Brian Hood (who's worked with a slew of other US bands like Gideon, Sworn In, and Being As An Ocean), the quintet's debut album is a massive step up from their previous work. Right away you'll notice the atmospheric sampling and clean guitars in each song really cut through the rest of the mix and hidden away behind the rest of the instrumentation. However, there are still plenty of breakdowns and chugs to be found on here as well as a great mix of vocal styles to please all kinds of hardcore fans.
'...Like Our Dying Sun' and 'The Grandest Intentions' begin proceedings off in fine fashion. These two songs really give you the guts of what you'll be hearing on this record. But it's not till later on that the band really impress. 'Old Streets' is one such moment. It's a surprisingly catchy song with its dual vocal styles in the chorus yet it never has to transition into pop-punk territory to be so, and remains direct and to the point.
Like most other bands in their genre, there's an instrumental track smacked right in the middle of the record. While 'Dreamscape' may be a rather generic instrumental song for a melodic hardcore band these days, it's a solid track nonetheless. It's a short affair too, and as a result, it doesn't break the flow of the full-length at all. The panning of the drums and guitars is an equally notable aspect and it's all executed extremely well.
Like all good hardcore releases, guest vocal appearances can really liven things up. 'Liars, Crows' has a well-placed guest appearance from Ryan Bowles of fellow metalcore act, Prepared Like A Bride. Bowles' vocals fit perfectly into the mix, and the same can be said for the other big name guest, Dylan Richter - ex-For The Fallen Dreams vocalist. Screaming and singing along on a substantial amount of 'Awake, I Become Limitless', his parts really help to make it the song of the bunch.
Countless bands now go for this melodic, clean/heavy crossover sound, resulting in mass over saturation of local scenes. However, Surroundings have truly nailed it here and have very real potential to move on to greater musical expanses and greener pastures. The group has achieved a near-perfect mix of hardcore and melody with this debut LP.
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'Of Bane, Burden, & Change' is a fantastic debut record for Perth's Surroundings. They have struck out a really balanced sound here between light and dark; heavy and melodic. Surroundings are definitely ones to watch this year and onwards.
1. ....Like Our Dying Sun
2. The Grandest Intentions
4. Old Streets
6. Awake, I Become Limitless
8. Hymn Of A False King
9. Flight Qf77
10. Liars, Crows
11. Between Hell And Highwater
12. The White Tile Floor