Idle Hands (Victory Records)
Hailing from South Wales, UK is the band CONTINENTS, who play the kind of uncompromising, hardcore inspired metal that can take them far in the current scene of cookie cutter bands. It takes a lot to stand above the crowd and on your own two-feet these days, metaphorically speaking. By bringing the energy and the angst of old hardcore and a modern edge that borrows from Deathcore, Tech Death and a few other styles, CONTINENTS is a band that will get heads bopping and breaking at shows. Idle Hands has a very live feel to it, and the sound of a hungry band pushing their own limits.
Setting it off with “224”, the track swells like the onslaught of an attack on your ears. Great syncopated riffs and a killer beat kick things off right. This is a great little nugget of a track that would make for a good stage intro. The title track comes next and is really quite brutal. I like the angular, complex riffs and interesting shifts between Metalic Hardcore, sludge, punk, Deathcore and back again. Vocalist PHIL CROSS: remember this name well. In a few years time he is going to be mentioned along the same lines as PHIL BOZEMAN and EDDIE HERMIDA among others. He has a beastly growl, a great high scream, and a screechy sounding thing he does too. When contrasted with the gang vocals the band does, it works to great effect. “Pegasus, Pegasus” has a some great grooves in the verse and then the song takes a total left turn in to melodic Metalcore. And it works. The rest of the song is full of atonal licks and breakdowns. Phil changes things up and actually carries a decent melody. I can see this track being a big hit for them. “Inhale” has a slick urgency to its tempo and delivery. It almost sounds like a rabid animal breaking out of a cage, and has some of the best riffs on the album. Guitarists Darryl Sweet and Tom Weaver make sure to pummel chords with low-tuned authority, but deliver a lot of tuneful textures in every song as well. The track has another brutal/catchy chorus part that I liked. Drummer Duncan “Ken” Hamill makes the beat hot with his blistering kick drum work. I rather like his dry, not-overly processed sound, which bucks the current trend. “Land of the Free” is another hyperactive, killer track. It has almost a techno/industrial feeling to the beginning, before it slows down and grinds away. With many songs this short and to the point, it means a direct impact that cuts to the chase musically. The next track “Sheeps In Wolves Clothing” almost caught me off guard by sounding like Death Metal HATEBREED. The track is barely a minute and a half long, but it is great. I hope they play this one live. Following up that with “Regrets”, the band lays down another sick groove and rides it into your skull. The middle-section has some interesting off time riffing that is cool. Easily one of the top tracks on here. I wish at times bassist Dom Turner would get to step up and out a bit more, but he mostly holds down the low end of the riffs. “Loathe” is an intense instrumental, while “Trials” gives way to more aggressive, bruising staccato chords. I could do with a few less bass drops from this album, but I really I can’t quibble with them too much. The band has the good sense to not overdo them. On the plus side, they have done a good job incorporating other electronic ear candy into the mix. “Exhale” is another Punky, anthem and you can just imagine the pile on at the foot of the stage live. So angry, so brief. “Truth and Lies” switches back to the tried and true Deathcore, not unlike WHITECHAPEL and THE ACACIA STRAIN, until the refrain. “Lion’s Den” is a great closer. Lots of rage and tunefulness too, which is kind of the story overall on the album. CONTINENTS is a band unafraid to blend genres and step out of the mold. For that, I applaud them. It will be fun to see where they go from here.
By Keith (@Keefy) Chachkes