When punks and metal-heads took their first tentative steps towards each other nearly thirty years ago, few could have foreseen the maddeningly complex sub-strain that metalcore would evolve to be. A genre that can today be applied, all at once, to the seemingly disparate likes of Cro-Mags, Vision Of Disorder, Parkway Drive, Converge and Asking Alexandria, the metalcore tag does undoubtedly have less meaning with each passing year, yet the fact remains that for all its peaks and troughs this is a corner of heavy music which has endured decades of misjudgment and changing fortunes to remain a vital force in our world. Indeed, with a groundswell of British metal talent taking a stranglehold internationally (Bury Tomorrow, While She Sleeps) the queue jostling to become the next globe trotting flag bearer is still as competitive as it is long. However, none are able to harness that classic crossover authenticity quite like Renounced, whose teeth rattling new album Beauty Is A Destructive Angel is perhaps the most convincing and vital metalcore release of recent years.
Within seconds of ‘Self Inflicted’s arrival, it is abundantly obvious that Renounced are out to drive a stake through the heart of the bastardised, style over substance scene pandering which hijacked metalcore some years ago. Knowing exactly where best to pitch their sound, the band draw from the best of the early noughties US scene and the ever-trustworthy Scandinavians to create a consistently invigorating whole. There’s plenty of melodic death metal blows and post-Lamb Of God metallic thunder here, but the true key to this band’s impact lies in their skill as songwriters. All resolutely hardcore in their delivery, songs like closer ‘In A Statue Of Frozen Glass’ flex around a dynamic structure and emotion clout which is strongly reminiscent of ‘Of Malice…‘ era Misery Signals, whereas the title track channels the flick knife aggression of early Norma Jean and Poison The Well via way of Killswitch Engage at their most belligerent, and are as incisive and commanding as any of these scene veterans.
With so many reference points to tick off it is perhaps most impressive that Renounced avoid falling into the trap of being merely the sum of their influences, but this is such a straightforwardly effective and enjoyable slab of prime 21st century metal that when the Darkest Hour-eque ‘General Population’ devolves into a nose flattening chug-a-lug breakdown, or ‘Calloused’ rips like Arkangel in full flight, you would have to be extraordinarily hard-spirited not to at least uncross your arms and offer some applause. Dropping euphoric metalcore A-bombs throughout, this is a collection of deftly-crafted anthems which deserves to be heard by a large global audience.
Beauty Is A Destructive Angel is out 27th September via Holy Roar Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tony Bliss