Review Summary: Past-Hardcore
Flashback to the mid-2000s. Post-hardcore/metalcore was at its peak with bands like Underoath releasing some of the most influential and impressive records of the genre. Define the Great Line
and other records alike embodied the zenith of the genre as a whole for the decade. However, since then, post-hardcore has remained fairly stagnant with only few flourishes reminding us of the past. In spite of this, newcomers to the field, Empty, have amalgamated what made post-hardcore and metalcore so intriguing in the past and presented their “revival” of sorts in their debut EP, The Healing Process
With much variety, The Healing Process
showcases Empty tackling multiple influences throughout the fifteen minute duration, ranging from Underoath’s melodic aggression to Norma Jean’s sludgy slow-tempo grit to even mewithoutYou-esque vocal phrasing. From the opening track “For While You’re Weak,” listeners are confronted with ferocious shouts and dissonant guitars complemented by punchy drumming. However, the track further progresses into a spoken word bridge and a clean chorus, setting the tone for the dynamic style of the EP. This same dynamic approach is displayed throughout “If I’m Dead, So Are You” and “Spineless,” further incorporating immense aggression and fierceness while maintaining a supporting melodic harmony. Diverting slightly, “Vacant Memories” and “Dangerous Repetitions” take each aspect individually and focus on progressing the dynamic even further. The former, acting as an interlude, predominantly focuses on the melodic vocals and supporting harmonic guitar work. The latter, on the other hand, puts its efforts into the sludgy aggression, relying heavily on bass and low shouts, exploding into an intense chorus.
Underlying each of these impressive tracks is the phenomenal musicianship and band chemistry. Throughout the EP, each instrument plays off of each other, creating a full , immersive sound rather than focusing on one as the highlight. The guitars work to create both melody in the soaring choruses as well as head-banging metalcore riffing as in the intro to “Spineless.” In supporting fashion, the bass provides a punchy aggression to the guitars as well as creating a heavy atmosphere within “Dangerous Repetitions.” Complementing the strings, the drumming ties it all together, setting the basis for the progression of each track, from the blasted rhythms of “For While You’re Weak” to the slower, groovier beat of “Vacant Memories.” Bringing it full circle, the versatile vocals bring out the best of the genre. The aggressive screams and shouts encapsulate the ferocity of post-hardcore integrating the melodic, soaring cleans and the spoken word for the quiet moments of the EP.
Overall, Empty’s debut shows great promise and potential for the talents of the band. With a rather strong grasp on the genre, The Healing Process
gives a taste of classic post-hardcore/metalcore while managing to cater it towards the band’s skills and preference. With only a fifteen minute run time, the debut leaves the listener wanting more in the best way possible, setting the stage for the future of the band’s promising discography.