"It is knowing where this record can go that builds up the suspense of the softer moments."
Soulitude, noun: being alone without feeling lonely. When you develop a new word to describe your album, it's hard not to expect the inventiveness to back it up. It's the first independent release from the Melbourne quintet since their drop from international hardcore tastemaker Rise Records; independence has allowed the band to explore new territory, yet they still remain un-begrudgingly close to home.
In a departure from previous material, clean vocals dominate the majority of the album, allowing the ferocious and now discernible lyrics of heartbreak and regret to hit deeper, making it obvious when the record's more tender moments are.
The basic elements of the post-hardcore sound are reproduced flawlessly by veteran producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, The Chariot) and pack a huge sonic punch, but it is the more unexpected aspects, most obvious on the record's experimental book-ends — the ambient and noise-laden opener Souls On Fire and completely acoustic finale Violent Pictures — that are the album's most refreshing moments.
Another highlight is Snowpiercer, where the opening clean guitar and emotive vocals welcomingly break tradition, bolstering the moment when they do finally give out and the mosh-ready breakdown kicks in, which imbues a strong sense of light and shade into the record. It is knowing where this record can go that builds up the suspense of the softer moments. And while they do flirt with this cleaner sound with mostly success, singles like Vertigo display a deep commitment to their hardcore roots.
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A strong, sonically defiant and lyrical record that teases with, but is ultimately uncommitted to, innovation and change.