So I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, and I’ll probably say it many more times……..Ohio is a breeding ground for excellent heavy metal. Dubbing themselves “ambient metalcore”, Columbus, Ohio’s Fear Culture are no exception with their EP “Room to Breathe“.
I’ll say this like I do in most of my reviews, Fear Culture doesn’t exactly tread any new ground here, BUT these guys play modern metalcore and darn tootin’ they do a damn fine job. It becomes clear very early on that these guys have consumed a steady diet of metalcore juggernauts Architects and the self deprecating atmosphere of “Happiness in Self Destruction” era The Plot In You throughout their lives. The balance between melodic sensibilities, brooding emotions, and brutal low tuned djent-ism on Room to Breathe packs a punch and there’s plenty to go around. Production on the album is massive sonically and engineered in a way that the raw emotion behind the vocals remains intact. The topic of mental illness is something that lies thick in the band’s vocals and lyrics. While this is something that may seem overdone in today’s musical climate, you can’t help but mourn the loss of the singer’s sanity and mental stability with his convincing and powerful performance on this record. The band does an amazing job of creating a powerful backdrop for the vocal exorcism that takes place here.
From front to back Room to Breathe is packed with tracks in which any of them are worthy of being singles and allows for high replay value. Single “Phobia” definitely runs as album MVP. The band’s use of loud to quiet dynamic is superb coupled with it’s emotive whimpers and anguished harsh vocals. The quiet, melodic sections really get under your skin and draw you in and set you up for when the band comes out of the gate swinging. Closer “Shut It Out” serves as possibly the album’s catchiest cut with it’s melodic guitars and anthemic hook, once again using soft to hard dynamics effectively. I don’t think Fear Culture could have chosen a better track to close out the album, the guitars are absolutely crushing and gorgeous along with possibly one of the best vocal performances on the album.
To be frank this album has been in steady rotation since it was passed my way over at First Angel Media. The band hits all the right places and I could see them easily finding themselves on a label like Rise in the very near future with their already solid songwriting and production. Be sure to keep tabs on Fear Culture as they have new material in the works and have been grinding hard. I definitely am looking forward to what this band has in store as they show definite promise for such a young band.