Review Summary: In a sea of stagnant modern metalcore, Firsthand Accounts pushes the genre to amazing highs with a raw and groovy sound.
Five-piece New York based band Johnny Booth released their last full-length in 2012 and have returned with an incredibly consistent follow-up with Firsthand Accounts
. The album offers a diverse and crushing sound delivered through fantastic production that showcases the obvious talent of all members involved. Guitars transition from low chugs and dissonance into atmospheric breaks and melodic leads. The drumming is fantastic through the entire run time and the rhythms and breakdowns never feel repetitive or contrived.
The band certainly leans toward the hardcore side of the genre, incorporating high tempo punk beats interlaced with slam style breakdowns. Think more along the lines of Norma Jean and Every Time I Die as opposed to Polaris or August Burns Red. Some of the riffs almost have a nu-metal tinge to them, further adding to the color pallet of the record. The vocals are relentless and crushing and the lyrics paint a bleak picture of the state of things. Rebuttal
kicks off the record with a brief sludgy and distorted intro, setting the stage for what’s to come but certainly not defining what the entire record sounds like. Feast is Over
comes next which showcases a more melodic and somber side of the band. Thief
is an absolute beat-down of a track that best shows the intensity this group is capable of. What follows are a collection of tracks that never overstay their welcome and always add an essential piece to the listen.
Overall, Firsthand Accounts
is an essential listen for any fan of hardcore or metalcore. The album utilizes the best aspects of the genre, taking influence from classic bands such as Converge while adding their own groove and ferocity. The breakdowns are unique and will absolutely decimate venues in a live environment. While the heaviness never relents, the album showcases enough melody and diversity to make for incredibly consistent listen. The album is certainly a contender for best metalcore album of 2019.