Metalcore is a genre that is both mocked and loved within the community of Sputnik. The mention of the word will provoke thoughts of Atreyu in the minds of most people, meaning that many think that metalcore is a genre dominated by screaming, but also filled to the brim with melodic singing. While this rule is mostly true, there are bands that very rarely feature singing, and if so, it is in very small amounts, as in the case of bands like early As I Lay Dying, The Agony Scene, and my favorite, It Dies Today. Now, I'm not completely sure whether their newer release is more accessible or not, but "Forever Scorned" is a carnival of deep growls, high screams, heavy rhythm sections, melodic leads, and excellent drumming.
Upon opening the package for this EP, I was a little worried that this would be a little like the Senses Fail "From the Depths of Dreams" EP in the sense that it would be good, but would wear thin after a few listenings. These fears were soon forgotten as the disk entered my computer. This EP has not only excellent production, but also sounds as though this EP might have been just a shortened full length by a band that had been at it for a while.
The first thing to be heard is a fade in style intro with a guitar steadily growing louder, soon leading into a fast paced riff backed by a brutal rhythm section and pounding drums. Nick soon starts screaming as that great riff is continued and the drums begin to play faster and faster. About halfway through the song, Nick switches from deep growling and screaming to spoken word vocals, which provides a nice break from the slugfest that is "Sentiments of You".
The song comes to a crashing halt, ending in a final, powerful drum beat and leads into the solo like guitar intro of "Bridges Left Burning". The intro again becomes the riff and is again joined by Nick's talented scream. About 20 seconds, the song offers shock in the form of a short bass solo, nothing too impressive, but still awesome. The guitars change leads constantly, keeping the song extremely interesting while the drums play fill after fill while steadily keeping the song's beat. Nick changes things up a bit as well, growling, screaming, and now using a sinister scream-shout and then layering his own vocals screaming on top, singing underneath. The constant changes in this song make it one of the most memorable tracks on the EP.
"Bridges Left Burning" ends on a heavy note and "The Requiem for Broken Hearts" begins. This song instantly features Nick screaming without an intro. The guitars explode into a catchy riff that changes from heavy to soft without warning. The drums are slightly less interesting here, but still manage to catch your attention here and there. "The Requiem for Broken Hearts" is the first song on the album to feature more than a few seconds of melodic singing. This is where the song begins to lose its touch, as the vocals come across as whiny and out of place in the song. The only real amusing part of the song is the way the guitars speed up, slow down, stop completely, and then start up again throughout the song.
The previous song ends with clean vocals and clean, soft guitars, which provide a calm before the storm feeling, as the title track "Forever Scorned" comes raging in a few seconds later. This song is where It Dies Today begins to do an As I Lay Dying thing, featuring an impossibly heavy scream that I thought was only made possible by As I Lay Dying. The similarities eventually end as Nick begins to use that sinister scream-shout again. The clean vocals in this song are more urgent and not whiny, and yet the song remains unrelentingly aggressive, as the vocals are again layered with deep growling and high pitched screams. The song progresses into an excellently heavy breakdown where the drums pound out some great fills and beats, accenting the guitars and wild screaming perfectly. The drumming on this track are the best on the album, sporting double bass and speedy beatings.
"Forever Scorned" slowly ends and leads into a song that would fit perfectly into a horror movie soundtrack, appropriately named "Blood Stained Bed Sheet Burden". This is the heaviest song on the EP, starting out with a slight bass intro, the second and only time that the bass is actually really heard doing something interesting. The guitars play a rhythmic lead with some truly scary parts to it, adding to the horror is Nick's terrifying screaming vocals. They are not necessarily different from the other songs, yet they seem to be slightly heavier. The drums once again play excellent fills while helping keep the songs pace. The song does take a hit in the form of the return of Nick's whiny clean vocals, but soon picks up again with Nick layering his screaming vocals over each other, as each line screamed is ended with a deep growl over the top of an even lower, scarier, almost tortured growl. A truly amazing effect, if I do say so myself.
Like all songs, "Blood Stained Bed Sheet Burden" had to end sometime, and it did end with a bang, with everything coming to an abrupt stop. "A Romance By the Wings of Icarus" begins with a calming intro that provides relief from the previous song, but the calm is soon interrupted yet again as the song progresses into one of the heavier songs from the EP. This song features a slight guitar solo thing that is actually quite good. The guitarists again play excellent leads and heavy rhythms while the drums add a touch of urgency to the song by playing at breakneck speeds during certain points in the song. The album ends with a fade out effect with Nick using some of the heaviest, lowest growls I have ever heard, creating a full circle effect sort of feeling.
The only real downsides to this album are the fact that the bass, as in most metalcore bands, is drowned out all over the place. Another problem here is that a few of the songs seem to drag on, but on the upside, this 6 song EP clocks in at an amazing 28 minutes and 11 seconds, almost as long as many of the full length albums I own. The lyrics are also very good for an EP, as most of the time the songwriting is not nearly as mature as what you hear on this recording. You absolutely must be a metal fan to fully enjoy this album because people uncomfortable with metal will not like anything here. For a great EP, I highly recommend It Dies Today: "Forever Scorned".