Heart of a Coward
It’s always nice to see a good band make a big leap, but this type of leap is nearly unprecedented. Heart of a Coward has always been a band to keep an eye (or ear) on, as they are part of the Fellsilent tree. Thus, they have always had the musical chops, coming from a progressive/tech metal background, but their first two releases were merely OK to solid. Maybe it was unfair to lump them in with fellow post-Fellsilent bands like TesseracT and Monuments, but it’s an easy thing to do, comparing post-break-up bands to their original band. Well, the third time is the charm for Heart of a Coward, as Deliverance absolutely knocks it out of the park. This is easily the best British metal release of 2015 and a sure sign that the band’s potential will not be wasted.
So what’s different? There’s a big sense of urgency or pace to these tracks. Whereas previous releases felt constrained by a desire to blast listeners with mid-paced groove/tech metal ditties with breakdowns strewn about, Deliverance ups the ante in every way possible. Put it this way: this is arguably the best modern metalcore release in many years, without sacrificing the band’s inherent groove/tech credentials. The band found a sound that recalls Monuments, Slipknot, Demon Hunter, and Northlane. It’s equal parts brain and brawn, but it never forgets how to be punishing. Songs like “Anti-Life”, “Miscreation” and “A Grain of Sand” are sure to incite minor riots at the band’s next live shows, but even most guitar nerds won’t be able to play along. These guys found a way to truly harness their talent and their desire to craft the musical equivalent of an earthquake.
In ways that most bands falter, there are definite nods to late 90s/early 00s metal, but while most modern bands look to Linkin Park, Heart of a Coward reference Slipknot and Deftones, two bands who were able to transcend the nu-metal tag by incorporating thundering riffs amidst thoughtful melodies. That’s the ace in the whole for an album that’s already stacked. Each of these songs is so thoughtfully arranged that repeat listens unveil more to love instead of issues to find fault over. Deliverance isn’t just a surprising realization of untapped potential, it’s a reminder of how good metalcore can be when it’s so carefully crafted.