Counting the iconic likes of Iron Maiden, Trivium and In Flames as influences – alongside homegrown UK talent Bury Tomorrow and Countless Skies – London’s Eartbound have taken classic metal, metalcore and melodic death metal to task, and crafted an often rewarding – yet also sporadically frustrating – EP in the shape of Endure.
“I Am Lucifer” opens with a well delivered and delicate acoustic intro before the metalcore riffs kick in and the first of many, slightly off-putting, vocal hooks threaten to pull the listener away from Earthbound’s musical carnage.
While the clean vocals throughout are ok, they’re certainly nothing special. By often aiming for a Bruce Dickinson-esque quick fire grandeur, the vitality of the songs are actually stripped down in a perhaps misguided effort to emulate one of the finest voices in metal (a tough task for anyone). In reality, the barks/growls peppered throughout Endure better serve Earthbound’s overall sound.
“Mother’s Ruin” is a damn heavy slab of brutal metalcore but again the vocals detract, with the repeatedly shrieked intonation of the tracks title proving to be nothing more than a grating distraction. It’s an infuriating dichotomy as the music Earthbound have composed impresses throughout….but the vocals sit uneasy on the surface. Of course, this commentary shouldn’t be taken as an all-out assault on the vocalist (this writer can’t sing for shit!), just a plain and simple mediation on what ails Earthbound at this current juncture.
While a metalcore album at heart, Earthbound have conjured an EP that may not work for 100% of its duration but does offer enough variation from the metalcore template to warrant keeping an ear out for future releases. They are at their best when adding almost spoken word and moody, semi-acoustic, moments to the overall bludgeoning and it’s “Finches” that provides the finest example of what Earthbound are capable of.
A stitled start perhaps, but still a promising one. 6/10
Earthbound’s Endure was released on October 13, 2017.