Review / JumpMan – What We Saw Before The Darkness

Describing themselves as an experimental hardcore/Nintendocore outfit, JumpMan instantly peaked this writer’s interest – who wouldn’t immediately want to know the outcome of those two styles blended together?

For the uninitiated, Nintendocore is not Super Mario making beatdowns (sadly), rather the introduction of digitised noises and tunes, the sort you might hear in 8-bit computer games, into heavy music. Adding hardcore into that already chaotic mix means a lot of extreme flavours in one dish. The result is the Watford two-piece’s EP What We Saw Before The Darkness, driven by the sort of catchy riffs you’d expect from a dual guitar lineup – guitarist/vocalist Eliot Foster and guitarist/sequencer Tom Cole shine from the off with the opening track ‘Happy Machine’ kicking off with a riff that instantly will get stuck in your head.

When the electronic elements are introduced, however, the music starts to get a little messy in places, and rather than adding to what the pair are creating it somewhat muddies the waters. This is also a result of not having a physical drummer as well – at the start of ‘Shame’, for instance, a wave of noise and artificial drums gets tangled amongst the guitar and vocals, making for an assault on the ears.

As harsh noise fans will attest, some crave such assaults, however. And what the duo do create is a raw, fast-paced and sharp record with some really interesting elements to it. Perhaps the Nintendocore elements would be more effective were they more prominent, rather than something which is working away in the background of the music. But if you stick with this five-track EP you will get the pay off you are looking for with the title-track. The track comes in with an ominous riff before bursting into life, again there are messy parts in the middle, but it is the crushing breakdown towards the end of the EP which will shake your bones to the core.

What We Saw Before The Darkness is a good building block for where JumpMan’s ambitious sound can go, but at the moment it feels a little incomplete with potential for more.

What We Saw Before The Darkness is out now.

Words: Tim Birkbeck