Victory Records is one of the biggest record labels around right now and has a pretty large roster with an even wider range of sounds. With big-name 'core' acts like A Day To Remember, Emmure, and Carnifex on their roster, there are a few recent signings that have seemed to slip through the cracks. The UK's Continents, a five-piece metal/hardcore band, is one of those bands for me. Even after signing with Victory Records six months ago, I had never checked them out; until very recently, that is. Their debut full-length album entitled Idle Hands is set to release on January 22nd of 2013, and let me tell you one thing: it's a banger.
Idle Hands opens with the short intro track, "224". After some feedback for what seems like a lifetime (it's only about 20 seconds), the instruments finally come in followed by the vocalist shouting out "May the bridges we burn light our way". What comes next is the first of many crushing breakdowns. The majority of Idle Hands is played on the top two strings of the guitar, but that doesn't mean that Continents is playing generic, simple metal/hardcore. For the most part, the riffs are groovy and the breakdowns punishing. Out of all of the breakdowns on Idle Hands, "Truth And Lies" holds the most chaos-inducing one near the middle of the track.
Idle Hands isn't all chug-chug-breakdown-chug-breakdown, though. Tracks like "Inhale", "Land Of The Free", and "Exhale" show a much more melodic side of the band. "Inhale" starts off with a fair share of chugging, but near the 1:00 mark, one of the guitarists jumps off the path of chugging and plays some slow but effective melodies. The next track, "Land Of The Free", contains some melody for the majority of the song, but it's extremely impressive in the second half of the song. After a mammoth breakdown, there is a spectacular tapping riff that repeats itself over until the track fades out; the aforementioned tapping really reminded me of Architects. The tenth track titled "Exhale" is my personal favourite. "Exhale" is the best display of Continents' ability to play melodic hardcore/metalcore with the big boys. The first half of the track is very melodic and fast-paced, while the second half is sure to get the two-steppers of the crowd moving.
Another one of my favourites on Idle Hands is "Pegasus, Pegasus". The vocals are very dynamic on this track and the listener gets the only taste of clean vocals heard on this 37-minute long album. "Pegasus, Pegasus" is also fairly dynamic instrumentally because of its bouncy riffs, dissonant vibe, and occasional melodic leads. The final noteworthy track is the moderately melodic closer, "Lion's Den". The way that it closes out the album with such beautiful melodies followed by another massive breakdown is excellent, and it encourages me to hit the play button for at least one more playthrough.
Whether it be an epic build up ("224", "Loathe", and "Trials"), stellar drumming ("Sheeps In Wolves' Clothing"), or powerful vocals heard throughout the album, there are several other memorable moments on Idle Hands and every track wows me in one way or another. The only gripe that I have with Continents' Victory debut is that it becomes predictable at times because a few of the tracks sound very similar and follow nearly identical blueprints. With that being said, Idle Hands is a very impressive release that does many things right and only one or two things wrong, and I recommend it to fans of Bury Your Dead, While She Sleeps, and Counterparts.