What’s in a name? It’s an age old question and one that often applies to metal bands. Sometimes the best named bands suck and the reverse is also true at times. What makes a name cool and resonate with someone and still be appropriately metal may still be an x-factor, as yet undiscovered. THE SOULLESS have a cool name, are about to drop a new album and may seem relatively new to the game with one other album to their credit. However, this UK band was known as IGNOMINIOUS INCARCERATION just over two years ago. Alliteration aside (yes I am a writing nerd and a grammar ninja!) it doesn’t roll off the tongue or sound as grim and badass as THE SOULLESS. Now word comes down that Earache Records has been served with legal papers by another band in Ohio claiming to own that name. Who knows what that means for these guys going forward, but one thing is certain: their new album is a crusher!
There are a lot of people who will tell you metalcore has seen its day and we should stick a fork in it. Well you can say that about a lot of bands and sub-genres, but for the most part good music is still good music. THE SOULLESS play an unrelenting style of metalcore that owes as much to old-school ALL THAT REMAINS and UNEARTH as it does their countrymen in BRING ME THE HORIZON. Blowing the doors off with the opening track “Unaltered”, the track is a true killer. Chugging riffs, ferocious beats and raging vocals. Andy Wardle’s brutal delivery has the urgency of a Jamey Jasta and the gravel in the throat of a Vincent Bennett (THE ACACIA STRAIN). To his credit he leaves all the melody parts to the guitarists. His voice sits nicely in the pocket of chaos the band creates and I dig it. Second cut “The Path” opens with some dizzying riffage on the level of some of the newer techie-death bands, but then down shifts into a straight ahead thrash motif. This band is not afraid to mix it up musically, occasionally adding some blast beats and death-core breakdowns. Guitarists Steve Brown and Kristan Dawson do a nice job of intertwining their parts together. Bassist Chris Ball is solid, but doesn’t stand out much. “Earthbound” is another over the top track with some more strong playing by Dan Wilding behind the kit and a sick string-skipping lick in the verse. After a neat piano interlude called “13th Morning” comes “New Perspective” which might be the strongest track here. I’m certain I won’t be anywhere near a mosh pit for this song live unless I want my face kicked in. Holy crap! Other choices cuts are “Clones”, “Unite Us” and “Without Heart”.
Most of the record follows suit with similar sounding tracks of varying degrees and feels a little formulaic on repeated listens. On the plus side, it’s really heavy and a fun listen. Also, it is really short at about thirty minutes which seems to be the order of the day lately. Every band out there can learn a lesson from this which is keep it tight and to the point at all times!