Album Review: Pridelands - 'Light Bends'

17 January 2022 | 2:27 pm | Rod Whitfield

"'Light Bends' is a powerful and compelling debut."

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Taking cues from the likes of fellow Melbournians Thornhill and Sydney’s Northlane, relative newcomers Pridelands have crafted quite a masterful debut long-player here, one that should, by all rights, garner them some very solid attention nationally and internationally.

The metalcore sub-genre has gone in two very distinct directions in recent times, some bands have taken it into very dark and gnarly territory, while others have adopted a more ambient approach. Either way, it’s great to see the style grow, evolve and develop, and Pridelands fall very firmly into the latter category. This band has a very firm grasp on how to create layers of mood and atmosphere.

That’s not to say there’s no grit for metalheads to get their teeth into, however. The album is arguably at its best when it gets heavy (check out Parted Time and Antipathy). It’s just that Pridelands do it with a real sense of style and with their feet planted firmly in the concept of dynamics. They obviously realise that if their album was wall to wall heavy, or based almost entirely around moody atmospherics, it probably wouldn’t be as interesting. So they throw it all at the wall, and damn it if virtually all of it doesn’t stick.

In doing so, and in constructing 11 highly coherent and cohesive tunes in that style, this band has displayed a maturity that belies the fact that this is their first album, and it whets the appetite as to what they might come up with next.

This record alternatively smashes you with a ton of bricks and lulls you into dreamworld with its otherworldly soundscapes (see: Evergrowth, for example), and does so absolutely convincingly. The main issue standing in the way of this band reaching very solid heights, commercially, is the fact that they reside in an extraordinarily crowded genre, in Australia and around the world. Let’s hope they can rise above this, because Light Bends is a powerful and compelling debut, and deserved of much attention.

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