Earth Groans
Renovate EP
(Solid State Records)

South Dakota’s Earth Groans states they want to be a ministry first and a band second. It’s a bold claim, and it’s one that detractors can surely thrown back in their face if the music sucks. Thankfully, Renovate is the opposite of music that sucks (music that blows…?). Earth Groans play a Botch-ian style of metalcore that is certainly familiar to Christian metalcore (think Norma Jean or mid-career Underoath), and while much of these five songs are familiar, the fact that the band takes its message so seriously really elevates the listening experience. The album centers around a personal Flip or Flop scenario (without the messy divorce, hopefully): the desire to get down to the bare foundation and renovate yourself into a better person. Not everyone will agree with the band’s Christian endgame, but vocalist Jeremy Schaeffer’s vocals are intense, and the lyrics are equally aggressive, hitting on how everyone has parts of themselves they wish they could work on.

It’s a disservice to totally undermine the music, too, as Renovate is filled with a near-perfect riff-to-chug ratio. The choppy and shapeshifting style is gloriously retro, and the breakdowns are from an era when they were meant to be heavy, not introduced by a bass drop and a crab walk. Earth Groans are by no means totally innovative, but their chunky metalcore mixes beautifully with their heavy message. The record offers a glimpse at the potential greatness to come, but Earth Groans are already one Hell of a band.

Purchase the album here: Physical | iTunes

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