Review: Surfacing – 'Chaos Through Clarity'

From its humble beginnings not all that long ago, metalcore is fast becoming a hugely popular (and, some would say, over populated) subgenre of heavy music. Every day seems to see another contender surfacing, all stretched earlobes and pulsating blastbeats, and all trying to elbow their way to the front.

Take today’s review subject, Surfacing. Information about them is scant; suffice it to say, they formed in 2009 in Brooklyn, NY, and began gigging soon after. A planned single became an EP, which eventually became their debut album ‘Chaos Through Clarity’. A concept album based loosely on the idea of fighting for what you want even though there are detractors and, well, bad shit happening all over the world. The band released a four track taster a few months back. It’s due to be launched in full on December 18th, with a launch gig on the 30th in Brooklyn.

‘Thank You For The Inspiration’ opens the album with a fat riff and pummelling beat, before blastbeats and the standard scream/clean vocals take over. The unexpected addition of violins lifts the song above the generic, whilst vocalist Joe D’s thick Brooklyn accent lends a suitable harshness to the somewhat bleak lyrics.

The band are clearly striving to add depth and texture to the standard metalcore song structure (blastbeats, screaming, clean vocals in the chorus, breakdown, screaming and so on). Thus, there is piano in the likes of ‘Amongst Giants’ and the title track, as well as a rather hard rock vibe in ‘Circles’, and a quite muted (and slightly over long) outro in ‘Begin To Decay’. Far from being decried for their efforts, Surfacing should be applauded for trying to break the mould here and there.

That said, ‘Chaos Through Clarity’ is unquestionably a metalcore album. If you love the ‘core, this is a CD/download you should definitely pick up, as it emphatically ticks all the boxes: breakdowns galore, an exhausting workout of blastbeats, and, in vocalist Joe D, a man capable of fierce screaming and emotional clean singing. They need to work on their songwriting skills a tad: the fluctuation between said clean and scream is a bit unstructured at times, while a bit more rhyming and less verbosity would be good.

Madness is a way of means to behold the treasures of your labour”? Uh, excuse me?

That’s not to take away from the intelligence and spiritedness of the album, however. Highlights such as the early BMTH-flavoured ‘Smother The Symphony’ and blistering final track ‘A Wish To Perish’ show real talent and a flair for the dramatic. Whether that, and ‘Chaos Through Clarity’ itself allow Surfacing to push their way through the burgeoning metalcore scene, remains to be seen

Review: Melanie Brehaut

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