Review Summary: "This is how the cycle of life goes; pull ourselves back up to be knocked down. Still intact, no matter what."
Here goes nothing. It all starts in July 2006, when five young whippersnappers from the Philadelphia suburbs got the sudden urge to start a band. No one is absolutely sure why, but something lit a fire under their asses. If it's any consolation to their cause, I imagine it was spreading the good word of the Lord through their powerful metalcore that brought them together. Oh Constantine certainly have been working hard at it. They must really want to be heard. Even in high school, the fellows from Harleysville PA have been putting their nose to the grindstone to perfect their unique blend of metal, hardcore energy, and a purely positive enterprise.
And it's gotten them pretty far. They've played shows with Counterparts, Shai Hulud, and Debtor, to name a few, despite only having gone on one east caost tour in 2008 to support their EP, Rebuiliding The World
. A few minor line-up changes would occur before the release of their next EP, Into The Beginning
, in July 2010. The five-song juggernaut is by far their most solid and mature outing to date, solidifying Oh Constantine as masters of their sound and confident players in the overpopulated christian metalcore scene.
Well, it hasn't gotten them too
far. Despite their hard work and already lengthy career together, they're currently still in Harleysville planning their next move. To this reviewer, it seems the fire once held could be fading. But there is hope. Guitarist and founding member Kevin Saurman once assured me that anything can be accomplished with the correct attitude and workmanship intact. His musing would prove to be nothing but fittingly reflective of Oh Constantine's all-encompassing message. Hard work and passion pays off. Not in the way we would all expect, but ultimately so, especially when applied to things so universal as religion and spirituality. To quote the band directly, "There is more left to do, this bar is set high. I will jump over it anyway. Can't hold me back. Step aside."
In direct response to Saurman and his wise words, I thought I would try and spread the word myself; not necessarily of Christ, but of Oh Constantine. And now we're here. Into The Beginning
. In case you've decided to listen in while you read, right away we arrive at a place where drums, guitars, bass, and somebody screaming at you are gonna kick your ass. With knowledge, playa. If you're just tuning in, I'll introduce you to everybody. The drums are being played by Brandon Wesley, and he doesn't mess around. He displays an impeccable sense of responsibility behind the kit. Listen in to the opening riff Release The Lions
to see what I mean. Simultaneously, he doesn't consider himself exempt from flare. Watching him play the songs live is equally as entertaining; he doesn't mind using unconventional techniques to drive the point home, often switching to open-hand to add to the presentation.
Mike Cabibbo and Kevin Saurman are in charge of the guitar-playing here. The EP is nothing short of a pristine showcase for Mike And Kevin's well-crafted formula for songwriting and soaring melodies. I know they're all christian, but I think they sold their soul to Pazuzu to come up with these chords. They're evil and at the very same time beautiful and serene; perfect for getting their point across. The superior riffs in songs like Alliance
do a terrific job of reminding us why bands like August Burns Red and The Ghost Inside were so effective in their passages. Now while the music isn't presenting anything particularly new within the metalcore province, it's clear that everyone in Oh Conny has done their homework, which is all we can ask of anyone really.
For this reviewer, a personal favorite architect of this EP is vocalist Geordie Ditter. When it comes to punishing delivery, passionate lyrics, and overall confidence as a frontman, look no further. Ditter has a distinct gruffness to his vocals, offering something at least a little innovative to the genre. Listening to his lyrics tell us that positivity is key, and anything can be built by anyone with endless possibilities. Sounds familiar. It's even more refreshing to hear how well he places his words within the passages. A lot of casual listeners of any music often neglect to admire when a vocalist can champion the art of good lyrical and vocal placement. It's not only awesome to notice, but it proves they've been building themselves long enough to know each other this well. No specific example of this, but you'll hear it throughout the EP. The bottom line is he knows what he's doing. And that's good. One less thing.
So whether you hear just another band playing tough-guy metalcore, or a band of veterans working hard to bring you something to turn over and ponder, Oh Constantine have succeeded in making a shockingly well-crafted EP of passionate music that scene kids dream of making, had they the testicular fortitude to get to work and study something before they start telling a story. If you learn anything from this band, it's that hard work pays off. It may not get you what you once thought, but it will always satisfy your thirst for more. If you can love it enough.