2013 has been chock full of some interesting and, quite frankly, out-of-the-blue releases – ranging from death metal, to pop punk, melodic hardcore and even djent. In this spirit, the UK’s Fathoms has tried to jump into the fray with their latest EP, Cold Youth, to be released on September 30 via indie label Ghost Music. Considering they followed the hardcore/metal fold by having a name that is a random ambiguous word pluralized as their band name (see Volumes, Circles, Aliases, Textures, etc.), I was hesitant to listen to Cold Youth, fearing it might fall into just as generic a state as the name has. At the same time, such an eager attitude by the band had me hoping for a pleasant change and for this British metalcore quintet to lead it.
The first track, “Pride of Lions,” begins with a speech on teaching children about having aspirations and to enjoy what you do. It then drops into a rather generic buildup, followed by a bouncy riff. Though the song isn’t necessarily full of chugs and breakdowns, it does a good job of tricking the listener into thinking it’s actually progressing – when in reality, the riffs keep the song at an emotional and contextual standstill. In short, it goes absolutely nowhere.
The second track, “XIV,” which was the EP’s first single, is a huge improvement from the previous track, yet it still contains a few flaws. Though the chorus and clean vocals are a welcome addition, the breakdowns added to transition between riff ideas begins to get predictable and weak. I understand breakdowns are a large part of modern hardcore and metalcore, but it is still imperative as a songwriter to learn how to properly use one in a song, and Fathoms seems to still be in the process of learning that placement.
The last two tracks, “Old Bones” and “Home/Less,” almost blend into the background as they pass, and if you try to listen to them intently, you’re prone to get bored rather quickly. “Old Bones” is a cornucopia of breakdowns, with chugging amok the monotone screams and the clean vocals (which I began to realize did little to divert from the same melody and notes that it held previously on the record). The instruments are all there on a technical standpoint, they have quite a bit of talent and they do know how to write riffs, considering “Pride of Lions” was chock-full of them. It almost seems like the band got lazy on the last half of the record. As “Home/Less” comes and goes, I’m left to eagerly go back to the beginning of the EP, only to remain disappointed once the first two tracks finish again.
Fathoms has potential, I cannot stress this fact enough. They all are talented musicians, and I am eager to hear what they can bring to the table in the future. That being said, the EP falls short halfway through its already short run time (four tracks spanning just over 14 minutes), drowning itself in breakdowns and overall lazy songwriting. Please check out this EP for the first two tracks, for they are quite the treat. You may even enjoy the last two tracks if breakdowns are your favorite thing. It’s just that there’s only so much chugging one can do before your low string breaks on you from being worn out faster than Mike Hranica’s vocal chords.