Much like the industry itself, music is ever-changing. From writing styles, sources of inspiration and production techniques, there are always going to be ways to improve and change the output of what artists create. In the realm of metalcore, the sound itself has changed and as of late, the more popular acts have shifted towards sonically towards a more approachable, and radio friendly sound. While it’s part of the evolution of those bands, many fans of the genre yearn for the days of the heavier, harder hitting bands that caused them to fall in love with the music in the first place. Australian natives Save The Clock Tower are one such band that created a hard hitting debut that drew immense praise from critics and fans alike. Now, with their upcoming sophomore record, The Familiar // The Decay set to release July 1st, the question remains. Does STCT join the crowd in moving towards a more approachable, mellowed out sound or do they continue down the path that got them to where they are now?
The record opens up with the track “A Ghost Heart” and its intro is nothing short of aggressive and loud riffs and pulsating drumming before layered screams and cleans kick in. Keeping the rapid pace throughout its entirety, listeners should find themselves singing along nearly immediately and will assuredly end up doing so throughout the full album. While the intro has a brief 2-minute runtime, the ending starts to utilize the opening guitar riff found in the albums lead single, “White Cross” helping the tracks blend together. This creative direction ends up being one of the more unique aspects of The Familiar // The Decay, in that many of the tracks have blended outros/intros giving showcasing the records overall flow. Coupled with a dark, devilishly detailed thematic concept throughout the album, Save The Clock Tower gives listeners an excellent example of a record that was not only intricately thought out, but one that has an overall superb flow.
While many artists tend to use various producers for each album, the band once again enlisted the services of Dave Venter for production duties on The Familiar // The Decay. This led to a record with a sound combination influenced by metalcore’s utilization of catchy and crunchy guitar riffs, furious drumming and bouncy basslines meshed with the lyrically driven musicality of post hardcore’s massive, sing-a-along choruses and meaningful lyrical content. With all of those elements put together, listeners are presented with a full sound that comes across as a natural evolution to Wasteland, just put into a tighter, more refined package. It also helps the music vary track-by-track; one minute you have the orchestral, radio-friendly driven “The Familiar Decay” and the next you have the near melodic death-metal influenced “Here, Abaddon”, with neither feeling out of place.
Where the band’s first record, Wasteland, failed was due to its lack of unison and immediate impact so the band went back to the drawing board and out came a rock solid foundation in sound and cohesiveness. Instead of just simply going bigger and loud, The Familiar // The Decay is a memorable record that will have listeners replaying it from start to finish repeatedly. Save The Clock Tower didn’t follow suit with what the bigger bands are doing; instead they took a look at their own identity, continued polishing the sound they had previously created and put out what will likely be a surprise hit of a record.