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April 21st – Courage is Born from Fear Award winner

April 21st
Courage is Born from Fear
by Mark Machlay at 07 September 2021, 6:45 AM

It’s not often I find a band that are named after a date but the Brazilian metalcore band APRIL 21ST is bucking that trend and getting – psychologically speaking – quite deep with their new EP “Courage is Born from Fear”. They take their name from the Brazilian national holiday Tiradentes Day in which the revolutionary Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier became a martyr and national hero when he was executed for fighting for Brazilian independence from Portugal. The naming is quitte apropos for a band that seems to push the boundaries of metalcore much like TRIVIUM and AVENGED SEVENFOLD did early on. The band was created by guitarist, Herbert, after studying at The Institute of Contemporary Music and Performance located in London. Vocalist Nick Lucas would join with local musicians drummer Alexandre “Vermelho”, bassist Fred Augusto, and Giacomo Ferreria on melodic vocals helping out to record their first EP “Remains” in 2017. Permanent drummer August Nery would join by November 2017 while Lucas would leave the band in August 2018. By May of 2019, permanent and current members Lukas Akira on vocals and Helbert Collyn on bass began working as a four-piece and released several singles while working on a more complete package that would become their latest EP.

Though the EP is ripe for singles from which to pull for release, “Courage is Born from Fear” is more worth more as a sum than as parts. APRIL 21ST worked hard to craft a coherent whole and the entire EP is a portrait of mental illness and the power of lies. As one listens through the EP in order, a bit of a metamorphosis takes place. The first few tracks after the intro track “Before the Storm” are delivered in first person, as if the narrator is glued to the voice in his own mind. Once the listener arrives at the final track “Decision” the perspective has changed, the storyteller is living outside of himself and narrating his life in third person. The message is both beautiful and tragic since it is delivered by one who has triumphantly taken on his demons, but only when divorcing himself from his own soul and at a safe distance.

I mention monsters of the metal genres such as TRIVIUM, AVENGED SEVENFOLD in their earlier days, and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE because they pioneered new directions and while they didn’t all dabble specifically in metalcore, I believe APRIL 21ST can be a vanguard for new metalcore directions the same way the aforementioned bands blazed new trails. I realize this may sound like an impossibility, but guitarist Herbert really impressed me with this short little EP and I ate up every minute of “Courage is Born from Fear”. The solos and general guitarwork are warm yet biting and several of the solos are so tastefully melodic as well as technically off-the-wall, it filled my prog-metal loving heart right up. Now that the band has a solid and permanent member base, these guys need to crank out a full-length because their cross-pollination with other genres is so captivating, I think I listened to this EP more than a dozen times in one day. They throw in thrash metal in the ending of “Struggling to Break this Cycle” and in the riff work of “Stand up and Scream”, nearly AOR or arena rock with the guitar lines in “Decisions”, and even some groove metal hidden in the latter as well. Lucas Akira can form crazy black metal screams in “Struggling…” to clear, clean singing in “Stand up and Scream” as well as adding that metalcore roughness when needed. It Is absolutely wonderful to hear the effortlessness of the vocal style switches. The mix is great too, you really get to hear the bass warmth and the drumming is flawlessly fast as well. APRIL 21ST pushes the metalcore is amazing melodic directions and after two EP’s, it’s clear they have the chops and smarts to create a full-length.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Before the Storm
2. Struggling to Break This Cycle
3. Stand Up and Scream
4. Healing My Wounds
5. Decision
Lineup:
Lukas Akira – Vocals
Herbert – Guitar
August Nery – Drums
Helbert Collyn – Bass
Record Label: Eclipse Records
     


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