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Borders - Purify

by Santiago Puyol at 24 June 2019, 8:57 PM

Some albums are simply enjoyable because of how aggressive and straight to the point they are. BORDERS achieves exactly that point with "Purify", delivering an album that barely exceeds 33 minutes over 10 songs, but is a constant burst of energy. This band manages to fuse elements from different subgenres of Rock and Metal, including Metalcore, Progressive Metal, Deathcore, Rap Rock and even some Hardcore.

Although the themes it covers in lyrical terms are quite dense and heavy, "Purify" is a fairly catchy album and can be heard without paying too much attention to the lyrics, by mixing complexity, technique and songwriting with pop sensibilities. BORDERS relies on writing three-minute songs, helping to sustain a level of heaviness and brutality while avoiding overwhelming some listeners.

The slow intro of "731" gives way to complex riffing and layered harsh vocals covered with electronic touches. With a very modern sound and small, soft melodic breaks, we are introduced to the world of BORDERS. "Wake Up" and "Damage Everything" follow the trend, with more electronic and vocal effects, memorable choruses, violent riffs and intricate drumming.

"Bad Blood" introduces some subtle Middle Eastern influences in the main melody, while the song gives a new twist around the 2:46 minute with the use of the delay pedal on the guitars, generating a textured layering that brings BORDERS closer to the work of Post-Metal bands like THE OCEAN or late-era ISIS underneath a more typical Metalcore structure.

A groovy bassline, subtle synth melodies and a much cleaner vocal style, while being aggressive and conversational, "War" quickly becomes a highlight of the album. The guitars vaguely evoke CHON but sound like a twisted and sinister version of that band, better known for being quite relaxing. This song is, at the same time a great example of how the band incorporates Rap Rock/Metal influences into their sound, something also highlighted in the epic closer "Walking Dead". BORDERS uses rapping to generate a sense of urgency, drawing inspiration from bands like SYSTEM OF A DOWN or RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE but building upon what they did.

"Nothing to Lose" and "A World Apart" show a more diverse and natural sound from the drums, bearing in mind that sometimes drumming can be somewhat repetitive and arid. This is particularly noticeable in the mid-track breakdown of the latter. These two songs show more noticeable influences from both Prog and Hardcore that inform the band’s sound. Meanwhile, "Faded" and "Demon's Reach" move through a more typical Deathcore territory, without sounding like filler anyway.

"Purify" turns out to be a success as a memorable album and it keeps you headbanging all the way through. Combining fierce sound, catchiness and technical prowess, BORDERS manages to keep your attention and interest. Production wise, the bass could be a little more audible, but the sound certainly fits the mood the band was going for. I have to admit I missed having any solos, from guitar or any other instrument, especially as it could have been incorporated into any of the most dynamic songs on the record. Still, it is just a small nitpick from me. Keep an eye out for what's coming next from BORDERS, I know I will.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. 731
2. Wake Up
3. Damage Everything
4. Bad Blood
5. War
6. Demon’s Reach
7. Nothing to Lose
8. A World Apart
9. Faded
10. Walking Dead
JJ Olifent
Gav Burton
Tom Britton
Dan Hodson
Record Label: Long Branch Records


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Edited 09 February 2023

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