EP: Feral Children
Release date: 25 November (free download via bandcamp)
Sounds like: post-hardcore bat-bird action.
The alumni that make up Atlanta’s Holy+Gold burst forth from the metalcore bubble, with members of Norma Jean, The Glass Ocean and professional crowd-surfers, The Chariot in tow. It’s a surprise then, to hear that Holy+Gold carry very little over musically from these projects, save for teasing moments of snarling hardcore fury and some fractured distortion. This is an altogether different, snapping beast that will hopefully strike a few chords with those who like heavy, heart-on-your-sleeve rock.
There’s fire in Holy+Gold; don’t for one minute think that just because guitars aren’t being used as clubs, or chugga-time-changes and mosh-breaks have been ditched that this is in anyway mellow. It’s the hooks on the raucous groove of animal-melding track, Bat-Bird that snag into you and don’t let go. The arm-windmilling guitar-shred, coupled with the screeching breakdown, neck-staining, eye-popping vocal shouts and slight-grunge edge is infectious and furious in equal measure. When the second guitar comes in at the 1 minute mark – that southern-rock starts to fight its way through as things begin to form and take shape into a brooding and deadly cut of menacing post-hardcore splatter.
The raw, scrappy production shines through, particularly on the crackling static of The Bull & The Beggar – a spiky, gnarled slab of crunching alt-rock. Incorporating squealing, shrill feedback, liberal use of tambourines, backing vocal wails, melodic punk rock and gutsy, determined energy, this is a rush of positive, enriching light. It’s on Gravity where vocalist Keller Harbin gets to show off his impressive set of pipes (seriously, the dude can sing) and Holy+Gold’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek humour, especially with the lines “Sometimes life is fucked/other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” on the skyscraping chorus, which is a hair-standing-on-end, blast of anthemic, efflorescent passion and fist-pumping determination and grit.
Ties to bands of past spring up on the acidic venom of IV Witches, which is a coarse, jerking spike of distorted vocal screams, shoegaze-esque guitars and nagging trepidation. Everyone on this sounds on edge, it’s laced with fear and feels somewhat unsettling compared to the other tracks on Feral Children. Not to be outdone, Pyramids makes an absolute mess of proceedings, crashing in like an enraged bull, red eyes blazing, full of fire. Harbin screams over the scribbled, agitated, furious hardcore throwdown, whilst melody battles rage in an exhausting, scrawling battle of strangled feedback and rending. This is perhaps the closest Holy+Gold get to pastures of old and it’s not unwelcome, just sits somewhat oddly, but adds yet more variation to this unique and spirited EP. The angular nature of final track, Crooked Path, Crooked Smile, is tense and wrought – melding overlapping vocals, huge post-hardcore breakdowns and atmospheric And So I Watch You From Afar passages of monitor-breaking action, ending in a huge scratching scrabble of noxious feedback. Woah.
Feral Children is available for free download for a limited time from Holy+Gold’s bandcamp below. I suggest you get on this immediately; for fans of Lonely The Brave, Soundgarden and early Biffy Clyro – there’s a lot to absorb and love about this passionate and raw collection of tracks from a promising band, who may just surprise you.