Review Summary: A very tight, heavy and melodious debut metalcore release which highlights the artists ability to create fast and melodic guitar riffs, varying yet heavy breakdowns and both consistently raw lead and sensitive backup clean singing vocals.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
In today’s metalcore scene, the struggle for most comes in straying away from the ‘subpar’ or ‘generic--heard it before’ categories that so many artists of today are critically tagged under. Fortunately for Australian five piece act, Never See Tomorrow, they have exceeded the critical binds of audience’s expectations with, what may not be breakthrough material stylistically, yet, nonetheless, a highly memorable performance through their debut EP, To The Depths. With well crafted guitar riffing, solid lead vocals, fittingly melodic clean singing, and a remarkable drumming performance, this all comes together to effectively offer what is a refreshingly tight and melodic metalcore release.
So, as a debut performance, what makes To The Depths so special? Well, honestly, it’s that it all works. Every riff, every chorus and every breakdown seems to just fit; as an album, it just works. And yet, whilst most of what they’re doing may have very well already been done in the past, the Woollongong five piece are still able to bring it all together brilliantly and offer something captivating in the eight track release; a production bound to intrigue many fans of the genre.
Right from the get go, the just over a minute long ‘Intro’ track opens with a melodically soaring lead riff before commencing into the heavy ‘chug,’ semi-breakdown formula that works so well as a mosh-worthy opener to the EP. In highlighting what’s to come, NST offer a highly welcomed breakdown, and a glimmer of what the band will come to do best throughout the eight tracks. This track certainly acts in demonstrating just how tight they can really play as a band, all the more enhanced by the crisp production quality, and illustrating the melodically heavy yet brutal sounds that they have to offer; the way I see it, this is only a sign of great things to come.
Opening the next track, ‘Here’s Looking at you Kid,’ with a glimmering showcase of the superb technicalities of drummer, Christian Bugg, the yet again melodic dual guitar riffs offer a tight and tuneful intro, before the semi thrash-like lead guitar melodies mixed with the “chug” sounding palm muting and rhythmically tight double kicking power through. The track offers two noteworthy breakdowns which serve well in the context of the song and not purely for the sake of moshing purposes; the first occurring mid-song and easing into what is the first and highly welcomed exposure of the clean singing from bassist, Nicholas Prince, who offers a brilliantly melodious yet not overly-whiny chorus. The second of which follows the suitable verse-chorus follow up, demonstrates their breakdown versatility, offering rhythmical open low string chugs and double kicking, embellished by crunching higher stringed pinch harmonics from the lead guitar over the top. In essence, the first full length track on the CD highlights the bands ability to create thrashy, fast and heavy riffs, whilst remaining melodically tuneful and, overall, quality metalcore.
What you’ll notice with most of the tracks throughout is the standard underlying formula present, consisting of the guitar riff intro, thrashy verse with brutal vox, melodically natured clean singing chorus, verse, chorus, possible solo and, of course, the breakdown, with varying exceptions along the way. At the same time, however, this should not at all be seen as a criticism, but merely a noteworthy observation. It would be a fault if all of the riffs seemed the same, if all of the breakdowns became monotonous or if the clean singing was just so god damn awful; thankfully for Never See Tomorrow, this is certainly not the case, as they successfully find the counterbalance in highlighting their strengths whilst remaining creative and versatile throughout the eight tracks.
Take for instance the fourth track, ‘Hope is Only Skin Deep,’ which follows this said formula of intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-breakdown. What makes this one of the best tracks on the record though is the way by which it flows, seamlessly transitioning from section to section. From the powering thrash-like feel of the first verse, to the pleasantly whiny clean singing in the chorus, the spoken lyrical vocals of the mid third minute peak into what is a very fitting solo, tunefully exploring the higher strings of the lead guitar. This leads into what is arguably the best breakdown on the album, through its rhythmic simplicity yet ability to expose the technicalities of the noteworthy drumming performance. And, just for good measure, NST fittingly close the track with a slower and even heavier extended breakdown, filled with constant double kicking and open low string chugs in the guitars; brilliant.
Perhaps one of the highlights of the record though, comes with the fifth track, entitled ‘1000 Miles.’ Sound familiar by any chance? Well, take a listen and it no doubt will be. With this track, the five piece act successfully transform the popular Vanessa Carlton hit into what is a truly brilliant metalcore cover. What makes it so effective though, bar the sheer glory of seeing pop music reinvented in such a form, is the way by which NST adapt it to their style of music and capture the feel of the original. From highlighting the melodiously natured chorus through the tuneful clean singing, the heaviness in the open string ‘chug’ guitars and double kicking formula, the band incorporates a rhythmically fitting breakdown to top it all off and just create what is, no doubt, a master of a cover.
Finally, the band round out their release with the slower and more ballad-esque title track, ‘To The Depths,’ demonstrating the bands versatility whilst continuing to reinforce the elements that have proved to form the success of prior tracks. With this five minute length track, they take a final opportunity to both expose their sensitive nature and highlight their faster technical abilities, consistently melodic clean singing in the chorus before, in true NST fashion, they pull all the ties together with a final mosh-welcomed breakdown which is bound to leave listeners with grins on faces.
All in all, there’s not a lot you can really fault the band on. Whilst they’re no pioneers in a genre already well established, the material that they’ve brought to the table in their debut EP, To The Depths, is definitely worth the recognition. They’ve found a definitive sound, stuck with it and made it clear for listeners through what is a melodically tight and heavy metalcore record.
For fans of As I Lay Dying and I Killed the Prom Queen, Never See Tomorrow is definitely an act to check out. The same goes for the average metalcore fan, simply looking for something heavy but melodic amongst the mix; the breakdowns and choruses should do it for you. Or, at the bare minimum, the pop hit cover track ‘1000 Miles’ serves as a must hear for any music lover, purely for the sheer amusement of hearing Pop turn Punk at its finest!