posted on 4/2011 By:
Baptists hail from Vancouver, and though I’ve never visited the city, from what I gather it’s a pretty swell place to live and therefore I can’t see what makes the guys in the band so angry, but angry they are. Baptists’ self-titled EP – released through Southern Lord as a 7”, though it’d sit very comfortably on Deathwish – presents four tracks of dark metallic hardcore that immediately and inescapably evokes Cursed and Converge.
When I’m reviewing a release I’m generally concerned first and foremost with creativity and originality, but strong musicianship and performance, not to mention a good production, goes a long way toward making me like an album. In large part Baptists are retreading well-worn ground, from the thick, near-overdriven guitar tone to the plodding, tribal section fifty seconds into “Bachelor Degree Burn” that owes a great deal to Converge circa You Fail Me. Meanwhile, the vocal performance unavoidably draws a comparison with Cursed vocalist Chris Colohan, and the list goes on.
But I cannot blame Baptists for taking so much inspiration from the sounds and stylings of Converge, Cursed, and their progeny. Both bands have laid a framework for playing contemporary metallic hardcore without being ‘metalcore’ in the way that Unearth or As I Lay Dying are. Instead of taking influence from, and then subsequently dumbing down, the riffs of At The Gates and others of the 90s Gothenberg ilk, Cursed and Converge in particular began to draw upon and transform the Slayer and Metallica-propelled riffing of late 90s metalcore (when the genre was at its best) and combine it with an aesthetic that owes as much to black metal, sludge and noise/math rock (I'm thinking spcifically of Keelhaul) as it does to early American hardcore and punk.
Supposedly Baptists are working on a full-length, and perhaps in that context the band might find space to develop their own sound, but for now the self-titled EP indicates a young band with chops strong enough to draw attention from important names in the field, like Southern Lord. (The label’s Myspace does, however, go out of its way to explain that Baptists is not ‘signed’ to Southern Lord.) And so here Baptists has offered up their somewhat derivative but highly competent take on the ‘style’ of ‘metalcore’ I prefer, and I can always get behind more.
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