I often feel like I”m in the minority when I say that electronic metalcore can be done well, but even I understand that when the style fails, it falls on its face spectacularly. The issue is that too many bands combine dollar store Euro-trash EDM with generic mosh-heavy metalcore, and we all know that the combination of two bad component parts, even when innovative (see Attack Attack!), rarely results in a winning formula. UK band Silent Descent have actually been around for over a decade, but their third record, Turn To Grey, offers up a compelling argument for how to make impressive, fun, and memorable electronic metalcore.
Hell, I’d go so far as to say that Turn To Grey is easily one of the most purely enjoyable records released in 2017, which is really what the style was created to be. Silent Descent combine the bombastic songwriting and societal angst of mid-career Enter Shikari with a hefty dose of synth-heavy melodeath (a la Soilwork) and just enough fist-in-the-air arena sensibilities (think somewhere between Bring Me The Horizon and Amaranthe) that lodges these songs into your head. There’s a surprising (and welcome) use of minor chord progressions that helps keep these songs away from true cheeseball status. Ultimately, though it’s the fact that these Brits know their way around a song is what elevates Turn to Grey into something special. There are honest to God riffs throughout (“Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved” feels like the song In Flames has been trying – and failing- to write for a decade), and the song that features their singer, “Vortex” could easily fit into either of the two latest Soilwork records. The electronic element isn’t used a crutch to buoy shitty songs, either. “Rob Rodda” and “Gravesend” are both a tad familiar, but the electronic undercurrent actually elevates the otherwise stellar melodeath riffs.
Aside from a couple slight missteps (the ballad “Paths Winding” is the most notable) and the fact that it feels a tad too long, Silent Descent are out here proving how compelling electronic metalcore can be. Even if you don’t buy into the genre as a whole, these is modern metalcore that’s almost all killer and no filler, and it’s certainly one of the most fun albums of 2017. This is fantastic stuff from a band who know exactly what they want to do and execute it wonderfully.