Hardcore Welsh quintet Continents explode out of the gate with brutal new album "Reprisal".
The British metallers have had a successful run so far and look to capitalise on it with their latest effort. It seems that "Reprisal" does exactly that, the album displaying the bands ability to produce brutality alongside a slower, more methodical approach.
"Drowned By Hate" kicks off proceedings in typically unforgiving fashion, an abrasive riff giving way to a classic hardcore structure, squeezing about 4 variations of the introductory sequence in the first minute. The blastbeats are a pleasant, the dexterity of the drums snaking around the bludgeoning. chugged sections.
The single "Scorn" carries on in the same vein, settling into a head-banging friendly groove that sets the tone throughout the song. That the band chose it as their single was revealing, the song laying a foundation to perhaps settle to fly the purely hardcore banner rather than the more subtle musicality revealed later in the album.
An example of this new infusion of light in among the grim riffs is found in title track "Reprisal", a satisfyingly distant and myopic number, displaying a depth not often seen in hardcore bands, rising and falling in texture and tonality rather than simple variations in speed.
This melodic consciousness rears its head on the following song "Awakening" as the infusion of a synth/additional soundboard among the racing guitars and (I'm not kidding) pop-punk style drums during the verse section is a refreshing element that allows some separation from the earlier, more lateral hardcore efforts.
Don't misunderstand the review though, there are several moments of genuine, face-tearing brutality on nearly every song from the opening note - more than enough to satisfy the faceless online metal defenders away from proclaiming 'Reprisal' as "soft" or anything even remotely close to that phrase.
"Reprisal" then, is an appropriate name - Continents offering a reprise from the typical hardcore album, delving into a real musicality that offers more than the meat-and-potatoes, breakdowns and throat-threatening screams most albums in the genre exclusively offer. It makes for an impressive album, and a hearty recommendation from this writer.