GALLERY: 3rd Annual Queen City Metalfest at The Fillmore Underground

Photography by Hannah Lee Photography.

The 3rd Annual Queen City Metalfest gathered eight of Charlotte, NC’s top metal acts in solidarity under one roof at The Fillmore Underground. The festival boasted an incredible 600+ attendees, proving once and for all that the local music scene is not only thriving, but is producing bands, shows, and fans to rival any nationally touring act.

The night featured an all-star lineup of heavy Charlotte favorites: Skinkage, Something Clever, Black Ritual, Auxilia, Blackwater Drowning, Vices & Vessels, A Light Divided, and Annabel Lee.

SKINKAGE

SOMETHING CLEVER

BLACK RITUAL

AUXILIA

A LIGHT DIVIDED

VICES & VESSELS

BLACKWATER DROWNING

ANNABEL LEE

 

 

GALLERY: NEW YEARS DAY at Warped Tour ’17

NEW YEARS DAY live at Vans’ Warped Tour ’17: July 6th in Charlotte, NC.

Photography by Kevin McGee Photography for Fuel The Scene Magazine.

 

GALLERY: BARB WIRE DOLLS at Warped Tour ’17

BARB WIRE DOLLS live at Vans Warped Tour ’17: July 6th, 2017 in Charlotte, NC.

Photography by Kevin McGee Photography for Fuel The Scene Magazine.

Ded – Mis-An-Thrope review

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Written by William Dibble

Hardcore was founded as an unabashedly angry genre of music. It was a bunch of people getting together and screaming at their microphones, featuring bands like Hatebreed and Converge (depending on who you ask). Phoenix natives Ded launch a new album today, Mis-An-Thrope, and it is a solid belt notch on the list of hardcore albums that you should be listening to. Fair warning, there is a small degree of language here where song lyrics are quoted.

“Architect” starts out the album with an aggressive riff and scream. One of the trademarks of hardcore has always been a kind of harsh, energizing sound that makes the listener want to get up and move. This song definitely has that, motivating you to get out of your seat and throw down (this is not an endorsement to crowd-kill). The next track, “Anti-Everything”, combines hardcore yells, melodic vocals, and riffs with rapped verses mixed in with the rest of the song. An angry declaration, this song is also one that is easy to learn and sing along to. One can expect it to be a fan favorite while they’re on a tour, and would adapt easily to having the audience sing entire parts of it. “Dead To Me” is next, and while it doesn’t stylize the word “dead” like the band’s name does, it features a lot of auditory signatures that Ded uses, including their killer riffs, and Joe Cotela’s signature screams and growls. Matt Reinhard kills it on drums on this song, with a riveting drumbeat that seethes around the lyrics and breakdowns.

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“FMFY” opens with a rhythmic static sound before launching right into a brutal riff and the namesake line of the song, “Fuck me and fuck you too”. At this point in the album, it would not be inappropriate to compare their sound to early Hatebreed, though they have perhaps more melodic vocals, and blend in rap vocals in a way that is not dissimilar to some of Linkin Park’s early work. “Remember the Enemy” is one such track, blending rapped verses and soft backing tracks with heavier screamed vocals and hardcore riffs. “Dissassociate” follows in this vein, while “Rope” is more of a hybrid of styles and techniques introduced by Korn’s vocalist with the hardcore genre. It works very well, blended into songs that are both inventive and catchy.

The song “I Exist” almost stands out a little. It is very reminiscent of Ill Nino, which is not a bad thing. This song has a more nu-metal vibe than other parts of the album, while retaining its hardcore pedigree. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that Joe’s melodic vocals are similar to Ill Nino’s sung parts. “I Exist” is a brilliant and vocal defiance of people who try to erase others. “Hate Me” is another fantastic self declaration, inviting people to hate the singer because “I will never be a motherfucker like you”. Self definition is a recurring theme on this album, which draws another parallel to hardcore legends Hatebreed. These comparisons are only compliments to Ded, however, not something bad about this album.

Mis-An-Thrope closes with the songs “Inside” and “Beautiful”. These two songs focus on the aspects of one’s self more than others and their reactions to that self. “Inside” declares that the singer “feels nothing but dead inside” before launching into a mixture of nu-metal rap verses and hardcore riffs and screams. “Beautiful” is about the singer’s hate towards others because they are beautiful. It focuses on the singer’s feeling of having nothing to give and living in “your shadow, life in the gallows”. It is a grim portrait of self loathing, and gives the album a soft closing.

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Mis-An-Thrope pays homage to legends of two huge genres, and that’s not a bad thing. It has callbacks to nu-metal while remaining decidedly in the hardcore genre. Well-mastered and powerfully written, it also bears a lot in common with the self-improvement and self-definitive declarations of Hatebreed’s music. Ded is a powerful and moving band, and you would be missing out if you skip their new album, Mis-An-Thrope.

 

Go buy it on iTunes today!

Interview with Pat Thetic of Anti-Flag at Warped Tour ’17

Interview video by Rei Haycraft and Divus Moss. Photography by Kevin McGee Photography.

Rei: Rei Haycraft here with Fuel the Scene Magazine, and I’m here with Pat from Anti-Flag. How are you doing today?

Pat: Great. I’m hot, it’s Warped Tour. We’re in North Carolina, so it is always hot here. It’s sunny, and hot, and shitty, so we’re going to rock. Warped has been a lot of fun. We are out here with Sick of it All, and today Big D and the Kids Table are on today, so that’s going to be awesome. War On Women is on, which is another great band that we’ve toured with and had some great tours with.

Rei: You’ve play with a lot of these bands before and you all have been veterans of the scene for a long time.

Pat: Yes. We’ve been a band for 20, 25 years now, so we’ve done a lot of touring with a lot of these bands. A lot of the younger bands we haven’t toured with, but we’re going to hopefully do some touring with them in the future. That’s good.

Rei: Yeah. Now, you all are, I wouldn’t say famous for, but your political activism and being aware of the social unrest, I suppose, in the nation. What has it been like, especially this summer, on Warped Tour with all the things going on?

Pat: Well, the interesting thing about Donald Trump and his administration is A.) he’s a douche.

Rei: Agreed.

Pat: We’ll start with that. What his bigotry has allowed is the normalization of racism and sexism, and we have to make sure that we see that-

Rei: (air quotes) “Locker room talk.”

Pat: Yes. “Locker room talk,” or straight-up bigotry. When we see that, we have to confront it, because just because the president condones it doesn’t mean that the rest of the culture does. When we’re all in our collective small cultures and you hear that racist and sexist talk, you have to stand up against it. That’s what happened at Warped Tour a couple of weeks ago with the Dickies and people felt as though what was being said was fucked up. I agree with them. They spoke out against it. Yeah. The world that we live in now is slightly different because him being a racist allows the other racists to think that it’s okay to be shitty.

Rei: You all have been active in standing against such things for forever, but right now is such a volatile period. How do you feel that has affected the punk rock scene specifically?

Pat: Well, the punk rock kids have always been smart enough to not follow that. The punk rock kids are down here, and we’re just trucking along because that’s what we do. We are always on the right side of human rights and the right side of social justice. The rest of the culture goes in waves of stupidity. Right now we’re in the trough of stupidity, or the height of stupidity, depending on how you want to use that analogy. Yeah. Punk rock is always there. We’re always there fighting against those things.

One of the things that we’ve learned over time being in a band is one of our heroes is Woody Guthrie. He was a singer songwriter activist from the 1930s and ’40s. He sang songs about immigration and the problems with immigration, but the songs that he sang were about Oklahoma people moving to California for jobs. The people in California were trying to build a wall in California and keep the Okies out, as they called them, from coming and stealing their jobs.

It’s the same thing. You still have these people who are afraid of others use this argument of stealing our jobs. Usually there’s an economic, there’s usually people with less money trying to get into a place with more opportunity, but now the issue is the same but the geography has changed. Now it’s people want to come from Mexico or Central or South America or the Middle East into the US, and there’s small-minded people in the US who want to build walls and try and keep people out. What you realize when you see these things and you see this, that the stupid people are always going to be there. They’re always going to be afraid of others. What we need to do is always fight against that and make sure that we realize that when we have people from different places, different ethnicities, different cultures, it makes all of us better rather than less.

Rei: Absolutely.

Pat: We always want to welcome as many people with different viewpoints, and that is actually economically what has made the US strong in the last … in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, was that diversity that came in in the 1900s and 1920s. It brings in different ideas, and economically it’s better for all of us.

Rei: Absolutely. How do you feel in the last decade or so, that the internet and social media has changed that narrative?

Pat: Well, what it has done is, on the good side, it is brought the hierarchy of media down. Anybody can be a journalist now, which is fucking awesome. We all want to be able to get our voice out there, and the more voices we have, the better. That is awesome. The yang to that, or the yin, I’m not sure which it is, but the bad side of that is the fact that you can put out disinformation much easier now than you could before.

It’s very difficult to weed through what is real information and what is fake news, as Trump uses. What you see, and just to be clear, with Trump, whenever he’s accused of things, he attacks for the things that he’s accused of. Sorry. I’m getting a phone call. When Trump says, “Fake news,” he accuses people of fake news, it’s because he is creating fake news.

Rei: Well, it means, “News I don’t like.”

Pat: Yes. He’s also actively, his party and his alt-right are producers of fake news, along with the Russians. We have to figure out ways of figuring out what is fake and what is real. As a culture, we haven’t figured that out yet. I don’t have the answer for that. There’s much smarter people who are going to do that. For me, the way of solving that problem is to see news media from lots of different sources. Then, we could always figure out what is bullshit and what’s real.

Rei: What do you think that the music scene’s part of social justice and activism is?

Pat: The music scene does not have a responsibility for social justice and activism. However, for me, that’s the most interesting kind of music, so I always gravitate towards that. If you’re interested in those things, talking about those issues and making the next generation aware that those things are out there and that they can be evolved … When I was young, there was no talk in school about trans people, there was no talk in schools about homosexuals and the lifestyle where different-cultured people, or people from different cultures.

I didn’t know about veganism or vegetarianism until I went to the rock shows and I was exposed to those ideas. Those ideas made a lot of sense to me, and I live my life within those communities. The rock show, in my vision: the most important part of that is to make people realize that there’s other people out in the world and that if they don’t fit into the homogenous group that they grew up in, there’s another group for them to find.

Rei: Beyond that, what do you feel is your personal motivating factor in this band?

Pat: The thing that we have which is awesome that a lot of other people don’t have is every night we go into a room full of three to three thousand people and meet people who want to see the world different than it is today. When I see those people, we are charged and amped up, and we think, “The world’s changing, man. Things are getting better every day.” Now, I realize when you go to your school and you’re like, “Oh, these people suck and nobody’s changing anything,” it’s not … you don’t have the optimism that we do, but there are amazing people out there who are boots on the ground, making shit happen every day. When we play rock shows, we get to interact with them, and that’s fucking awesome. That’s what keeps us moving forward, because we know that there are people who are willing to fight for what they believe in.

Rei: That’s awesome. For someone who is not familiar with Anti-Flag, what would you want them to take away from one of your performances?

Pat: We will rock your ass off. Yeah. You’re going to come to the rock show, it’s going to be fucking awesome, and the songs are not that bad. They’re pretty good sometimes.

Rei: If you do say so yourself.

Pat: If I do say so myself, the songs will rock your ass off.

Rei: Now, for your Warped set, which the festival sets are a little bit shorter …how much of your catalog do you get to throw in there?

Pat: We play nothing but the hits. Nothing but the hits. Half an hour of straight hits. There’s not any room to put in any filler. We have 10 records and you’re going to pick the best songs that everybody—

Rei:Any new stuff?

Pat: We have a new record coming out in the fall. We’re listening to mixes right now. They’re awesome. We’re excited to get that stuff out in the fall and do more touring.

Rei: What was the process like of recording Live, Vol. 1?

Pat: Live, Vol. 1. We did it in LA at the Troubadour, I think is the name of the room. It was awesome because we went out and did a whole tour of old songs. That was awesome because we got to revisit these songs, and then we recorded it and then we released it. Because it’s Live, Vol. 1, that means that there’s a Live, Vol. 2 coming. It probably won’t come ’til next year.

Rei: Foreshadowing.

Pat: Yeah. That will come in the next year or so.

Rei: Then, the new album: you said maybe end of this year?

Pat: Looks like some time in October, November. Some time around then.

Rei: Love it. What else do fans have to look forward to from you all beyond the new album? I’m assuming you’ll have some music videos coming out for that.

Pat: Yep. All that stuff is in the works and there’s really cool stuff coming. It’s fun because I get to see it before everybody else gets to see it, so I’m like, “That’s fucking awesome.” I can’t wait for people to see that. That stuff’s going on right now, and it’s going to be coming out soon. We’re excited to share that with people.

Rei: Awesome. If you had any last words of wisdom for our fans back home, what would they be?

Pat: Don’t be an asshole, and start your own fucking band.

Rei: I love it. Rule number one: don’t be an asshole.

Pat: Yep.

Rei: We’re just going to start writing that here on the wall.

Pat: Yeah. Just don’t be an asshole.

Rei: I love it.

Pat: It’s easy. It’s easy to remember. Nothing deep, philosophical; just don’t be an asshole.

Rei: I love it. All right. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.

Pat: Thank you.

Rei: Have a great rest of your Warped.

Pat: Yeah. Warped Tour. Fuck yeah.

Interview with Billy Hamilton of Silverstein at Warped Tour ’17

Rei: Alright, Warped Tour. Rei Haycraft with Silverstein.

Billy: Hey, I’m Billy from Silverstein. I play the bass and yell sometimes. Make some sounds with my mouth.

Rei: How has your Warped been thus far?

Billy: Sufficiently warped. Yeah, you know, it’s our seventh or eighth year on the tour. It’s been very hot. I think we’ve got the majority of the both very hot, hot days out of the way, and the very hot wet days out of the way with both Florida, and Arizona, and Vegas, all that. It’s been hot, but yeah, we kind of know how to keep cool. We’ve got a great hangout set up behind our tent. We got pals coming around, we got some AstroTurf laid down and a barbecue and stuff, so you know.

Rei: Practicing your putt back there?

Billy: Yup, it’s been good. We just celebrated Canada Day. It’s great, you know?

Rei: Oh goodness. So, you all, we’ll say scene veterans, started in 2000. You’ve got 17 years under your belt, a ton of material, so coming out and playing a short set like this festival tour, what is it like building that set and deciding what to play?

Billy: Yeah, it’s tough. We’ve mostly been playing half an hour, some days it’s even been 25 minutes because it’s been a tighter schedule. It’s definitely tough for us, yeah, with over 100 songs. I think we just try, you know, we’ve got a couple of set staples. We try to mix it up a little bit, but try to play a little something of everything. Some old stuff, some new stuff, some not so old stuff, you know? Try to pick the fan favorites, as well. I think, though, it’s cool to see people responding and reacting to our newer songs. We’re not just a nostalgic band that people are like, “Oh, I love that record from 15 years ago.” They’re really pumped up about our new stuff, and we’re putting out a new record in a week or two, so …People are fired up. It seems really cool.

Rei: It’s July 14th, I believe?

Billy: 14th, yeah.

Rei: That is so close. Looming, even. What songs are you most excited for fans to hear that you haven’t been playing live yet?

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Billy: You know what, we actually just dropped a new track this morning in Germany via a German website, but I think you can check it out worldwide. The song’s called Whiplash, and it’s my personal favorite on the record. It’s the second last track, which is kind of cool because a lot of bands seem to put the favorite tracks at the beginning of the record, but I think that it’s a real anchor of the album. It’s like a kind of fast, upbeat song, and I think it’s cool to end the record with … I mean, the last song on the record is quite mellow and …

Rei: Brings it all back home.

Billy: It’s heavy and mellow. It’s real deep sounding, and it does kind of bring it all back home, but I think this record’s the real kind of smack in the face before … This song is the real smack in the face before the record’s over. My personal favorite. I think it really was one of the last songs to kind of come together in the studio, and I was like, “Oh, wow, I love this now.” You know, once I heard the hook in the chorus I was like, that makes the song for me. So check out Whiplash, you know?

Rei: If you can find it on the interwebs, otherwise it will be out very, very soon. You’ve created over 100 songs, how has the song process changed as you all have evolved?

Billy: Yeah, I think, I mean our writing process changed quite a bit a few records ago when we brought Paul Marc Rousseau along to play guitar. He’s a great songwriter and he’s contributed the bulk of our catalog since joining the band. He wrote a lot of this record and co-produced it, as well. He’s brought a lot to the table, as well I think like working with a new producer. This guy Derek Hoffman produced our record. He’s a Toronto guy and an old friend. Having his hand in the mix I think helped shape the songwriting.

I that what we’ve been trying to do is maintain a good aspect of what Silverstein is and what Silverstein’s been for 17 years, but still kind of keep up with what’s happening in music nowadays and be able to give it a fresh and modern kind of taste. With this record in particular we did a lot of writing in a heavier guitar tuning, so the songs do have a bit of a heavier sound to it, but I think then that just allowed us to put a little bit more of a pop kind of element to it and have it not be so poppy and radio sounding or something.

Rei: It still has that meat.

Billy: It allowed us to further the dynamic, I think. While we were able to get heavier we were able to get kind of poppier and the songs have bigger hooks and stuff without sounding kind of too cheesy or lame. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I think people hearing the record next week are going to be really stoked.

Rei: As you’re playing Warped Tour you’re gaining new fans that haven’t heard you all before, or may not even be aware that you have such a vast catalog. What are you hoping that new fans take away from your performance?

Billy: I think just that realizing that we’ve been a band for a while, and that maybe some of their favorite bands that are younger might have been fans of ours or been influence by us, or that there’s all this back catalog for them to discover, you know? It’s not just about a new record, it’s not just about an old record, it’s about the whole package. We’ve got I think eight records now, so yeah, there’s a lot to dive into if people are just finding out about Silverstein now. Definitely dive in and check out, there’s a lot of great songs out there.

Rei: If you had to write the memoirs of Silverstein right now, what would be the things that stand out that would be in the first chapter?

Billy: I mean, I think we got our well known … We’re Canadian, we’re well known as being a real friendly band, so nice guys, very apologetic, you know? All the Canadian stereotypes. I think we like to party but we keep it pretty tame, you know? I think people would, yeah, know us as quintessential Canadians.

Rei: Are there any moments that stick out at you? Moments on tour, stories that you can share with us? Everybody loves a good story.

Billy: It’s always the toughest question when you’re put on the stop, it’s like, “What’s the craziest tour story?” And then you never remember because it’s lie every day is kind of the same.

Rei: How about this Warped?

Billy: This Warped so far … I don’t know. We just got a lot of good pals. We’ve toured with a lot of the bands. We’ve been hanging out pretty hard. We hosted the Canada Day barbecue the other day. I did some interpretive dance with the Canadian flag to Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. That was pretty wild.

Rei: Multi-talented, this guy.

Billy: Yeah. I don’t know. Things don’t get too crazy for us. We were just in South America and Shane lost his passport, that was about as crazy as it gets.

Rei: That sucks.

Billy: But no, this Warped’s been cool. We got a lot of good friends and were meeting a lot of new friends. We’ve gotten pretty tight with Gwar, who we’re sharing a stage with. They’re veterans as well, but you know, we’ve been able to kind of get in behind the scenes with them and hang out with them outside of the costumes, I guess. They’re really great dudes and we’re stoked to be hanging with them. We obviously got good friends we toured with like Beartooth, and Hands Like Houses, and Hawthorne Heights. Counterparts are local friends of ours. There’s a lot of great bands that are here. Being as an Ocean, you know?

Rei: It seems like people keep talking about it like a family reunion or a rockstar camp, or something like that. Are there any bands that if you had a dream tour you would love to tour with that you haven’t yet? That’s a tall order because you all have done a tone.

Billy: That we haven’t yet. Well, it’s tough to say that we haven’t yet, because Warped Tour really does bring a lot of bands together. I just immediately thought we’ve been trying to do a tour with this band that I love called Defeater for a long time, but they were on Warped Tour three, four years ago and we toured with them then, so that’s tough to say. Trying to think. This new band that I would love to tour with that we have yet to be able to tour with is called Culture Abuse. I saw them a couple times, I love their record. I think they just signed with Epitaph. That would be a band I would love to take out on a tour. I met them, they’re cool guys, you know? Culture Abuse, what’s up? Come on tour with us.

Rei: I was going to say. Don’t worry, go. Google it right now.

Billy: Their record Peach is awesome. It was my favorite punk record last year.

Rei: That’s awesome. What advice would you have for local bands who are trying to do what you all have done?

Billy: I always just say just keep at it. Keep trying to play a lot of shows, recording your music as much as possible, constantly trying to make things better. Practice, play, record, tour. Get out there, you know? Just do it. I don’t want to just say practice makes perfect, but repetition makes perfect. Just keep doing it, pushing along, get your stuff out there. Get online, get your stuff on social media and just push it.

I feel like new bands often tend to wait for things to happen for them, like they just kind of say, “Oh, we’re going to do this and then we’ll wait and find a label to pick us up, or a promoter, or a booking agent.” It’s like, you got to do that stuff yourself, you know? DIY culture is still alive very much, and a lot of the time now labels, and managers, and booking agents are looking for that. Looking for you to do the work to show that you have the ambition and that you’re able to kind of draw a crowd and get people excited about your band yourself. So do it yourself, you know? Just get out there and do it.

Rei: Any other final words of wisdom for our fans back home?

Billy: I guess just check out the new Silverstein record, Dead Reflection. It’s coming in about a week.

Rei: July 14th.

Billy: July 14th.

Rei: So close.

Billy: I’ve lost track of the days. I’m very warped.

Rei: Nice pun there. I see what you did. Well, thank you so much for taking the time with us-

Billy: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Rei: And have a great rest of your Warped.

Billy: You as well. Cheers.

 

Codex Obscura – Miira review

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Review written by William Dibble

Art, by definition, is an intensely personal creation. It is a direct channel into the mind of its creator, and deathcore is no exception (we erroneously referred to Codex Obscura as death metal in a prior review). Miira is a self-recorded, self-mixed, self-produced album by one person, which makes its musical and lyrical achievement all the more potent. It is important to know that each track on this album is incredibly intimate and personal. It is self-described as a “series of vignettes representing different periods” of the artist’s life. For those who did not see our original review, Codex Obscura is a transgender deathcore artist who creates her art about her experiences and, in this case, her acceptance of herself.

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The first track, “Fear Made a Home in Me”, does not begin by mincing words or riffs. It assaults your ears from the first second, with her growls and blasting guitar. The song is an exploration of her fear, both of herself and others, and her shyness. It is also, however, a touching (if musically heavy) love note to her mother. From early childhood, the song moves to discussing later childhood and self-loathing from Christianity in “No Company”. This song features an almost haunting background sound throughout portions, but also an incredible breakdown that can stand toe-to-toe with many of the other best bands in the core genre. The lyrical theme of this song is carried into “To Suffer in Silence”.

 

Here, the album shifts rhythms drastically. While it still features blast beats and breakdowns, it also sounds completely different from “No Company”, with a much heavier, in-your-face sound. For our readers who have been taught self loathing and hatred, this song in particular may speak to you. It comes from the viewpoint of somebody who was taught that everything they were and wanted was wrong, and speaks openly about the pain and loneliness it causes. Those familiar with this possibly know what comes next in “A Hole in Between”. By now, we are in the teen years of Codex Obscura’s life, and this song is a testament to her emotions in that period. Her hatred of other kids “who got to go to public school… with friends… who felt normal and okay with who their parents made them out to be.” This song also takes on a fairly experimental sound, with a high-pitch sound following along with parts of the lyrics, high above the guttural guitars of the rest of the song. These parts are echoed in the outro of the song.

 

“Gray and Red” specifically addresses her years from 13 to 17. The hatred was hurting her life, making it impossible to befriend others, to the point where it became comfortable. The bridges and breakdowns in this song come in a way that a person can easily picture a depressed, angry teenager in their head. There are frequent breaks, mixing parts that can almost be called “soft” with brutal drum beats and breakdowns. The mood of the lyrics begins to change here, though, as we get to “Eyes Toward the Sun”. The sound changes substantially, too. We’re at a part in a journey through her life where she was finally able to begin to explore what it meant to be herself. While this track has a steadier, slower intro, it does definitely feature heavy breakdowns and screams. The intro, however, is a motif it retains throughout, and the entire song has a more consistent sound to it. It isn’t until now one realizes how dissonant some of the prior tracks, especially “A Hole in Between” and “Gray and Red”, sound (which only serves to complement the songs).

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This changes almost instantly- “4 AM” returns to the hard, fast, jarring sounds of the earlier tracks. Given that the song is about being shamed and trying to kill a part of herself, as well as the beginnings of her gender dysphoria, this is thematically appropriate. The pain and hatred seep through the breakdowns, driving home the full force of the lyrics and meaning through every breakdown as they get slower and slower. “I Bore My Teeth”, while still dissonant, is also a swing to more positive things. Talking about her adulthood, she has come out as transgender, and is letting go of her negative habits and feelings. This song demonstrates some incredible vocal screaming throughout, even more impressive than what has already been shown in the previous tracks. It is simultaneously loud, brutal, and loving, a loud proclamation that she is learning not to hate herself.

 

“A Color Louder Than Life” is a fast piece that has a more constant, less stop-and-go sound than other songs on Miira. Don’t worry, there are still breakdowns, but it is a steadier musical concept than most of the rest of the albums. It is also a window into somebody’s life once they’ve finally begun learning to love herself and her life. Finally, in “Miira”, we are where in today. She has learned that it is okay to be herself, that it is okay to not be okay. She knows that the things aren’t always going to be good, but it is okay to love herself and be herself, and that life can be enjoyed. It is a declaration that Miira, as the album is self-named, is “going to be alright, I’m going to be okay, I’m going to be fine.” The music cuts off abruptly as the album ends, appropriate to the affirmation of her beauty, life, and the beauty in her life as it stands today. If there’s any message to take away from this monument to a single life, it is that a life of pain and self-loathing can be overcome, and that it is okay to get help to overcome it.

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One of the best musical things about this album is the fact that every song is completely and totally unique in its composition. Some artists in the genre have songs that bleed into each other and become hard to differentiate- Codex Obscura is not one of these. Each song almost has a musical theme that matches the lyrical theme. If you don’t get the meaning by listening to the lyrics (or if you struggle with screams), the songs will happily bludgeon the meaning into your ears and mind. It is also incredibly personal, with the full meaning of each song available on the artist’s bandcamp, and a striking, singular self portrait as the album art. One of the only weaknesses of their prior work, Holy Teachings of Self Defeat, was the mixing and drum work. That is largely rectified here. One never struggles to make out her screams or the drums, as both stand out separately and powerfully from the guitars. Conversely, they never manage to drown out or disguise the guitar work, which is absolutely phenomenal. If you only pick up one deathcore album this month, make it this one.

 

Miira is available on Codex Obscura’s bandcamp page, here.