To say that the Australian alternative scene in 2018 is in good shape is something of an understatement. From bruising heavyweights Parkway Drive and Thy Art Is Murder to up and coming tech merchants Polaris and dramatic metal connoisseurs Ne Obliviscaris, there’s not only a real depth in quality but also an incredible breadth, as every tiny sub-genre seems to have bands on the verge of breaking out onto bigger and better stages.
Representing hardcore are Melbourne quintet Earth Caller, who are looking to not only kick the door down on the road to success, but smash it into a million little pieces in the process. With debut record Degenerate receiving widespread praise, sophomore release Crystal Death is under a hell of a lot more pressure than its predecessor, but thankfully it can more than handle the weight on its considerably beefed up shoulders.
The first thing that stands out is, perhaps surprisingly, the variety. ‘Never in Never Around’ is catchy as hell; ‘No Forgiveness’ an aggressive call to arms. The strength of this record, and of Earth Caller as a band, is that an offering of seemingly standard, fist pumping hardcore is elevated to such an extent that every track is more captivating than it has any right to be. Real lyrical power is mixed with massive vocal hooks, scintillating riffs and an understated yet compelling composition to create an album that is as important for its message as it is for its delivery.
‘Fall’ is perhaps the standout track on the record – not necessarily because it’s the best, but because it’s the one that could very easily propel this Aussie mob to the next level. With a melodic yet chunky chorus combined with bone-crushing breakdowns and haunting female backing vocals, it’s a track that could comfortably fit alongside songs by the very biggest bands in melodic hardcore without any hint of a raised eyebrow.
If there’s one criticism it’s that this record isn’t really ground breaking in any way, but to dwell on this would be to miss the whole point. This type of music doesn’t need to be ground breaking. This is the sound of a band that’s pissed off with the state of the world, a generation that’s sick and tired of corrupt politicians, segregation and hatred.
We may not have the likes of Rage Against the Machine sound tracking the sorry state of affairs that’s enveloping the world in 2018, but with bands like Earth Caller and their kindred spirits Stray From the Path, Architects and Stick to Your Guns, there’s more than enough fire from the new wave to keep the flame of rebellion alive.
‘Crystal Death‘ is out 19th January
Pre-Order here: https://earthcaller.lnk.to/CrystalDeath
Words: Shaun Brown