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Bound In Fear – Penance

Bound In Fear
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 November 2021, 2:09 AM

Following their brutally stark 2021 EP “Eternal,” this new album concludes the conceptual theme of depression, abuse and anger. With lyrics that reveal deep insight into the personal upbringing of front man Ben Mason, this is not for the faint of heart…featuring guest vocals from Jamie Graham, Nick Arthur, Kevin Muller & Taylor Barber. With no information in their EPK, and no information from their record label, and no entry on The Metal Archives, I have no idea who are the members of this band. But, it’s on to the music.

“(De)scendance” leads off the album. It opens with very heavy rhythmic beats and unholy, guttural grunts that are nearly impossible to understand. The music is quite harrowing, and they have created a creepy atmosphere. The structure of the song however is not very linear. “Penance” begins with more eerie sounds. To say that the guitars are down-tuned is an understatement. The vocals vary a bit here, from semi-rapped gutturals to downright punishing, unintelligible notes. It begins a slow, lumbering pace so accent the dissonant and bossy rhythms.

“Scar of Man” is another brutal track with guitar pyrotechnics that at least keep the listening experience interesting. As with most Death Metal, the boundaries are very unforgiving, and ten tracks can be a lot to try to get through with feeling utterly beaten to a pulp. “What the hell are you,” he asks…”death” he answers. “Beyond the Mire” opens with clean guitar notes and a bit of ambiance. I like the exploration here, it’s a bit out of the ordinary. It slows to about as heavy and grinding of a sequence as you might ever hear. “I Still Dream of the End” begins with more clean guitar tones and background atmosphere. It slows again towards the end, crushing you with notes so low, they almost fall off the page.

“Adrenaline” is a shorter offering with a faster moving pace and more of those strange guitar effects. The rhythm section slows once again to accentuate the dissonant, brutal vocals and guitars. “Cutthroat” is even shorter, and the rhythms again are very discordant and merciless in their delivery. “Sadist” begins with more mysterious sounds, and formidable rhythmic structures. The focus here is mostly on the vile nature of the vocals, guitars, and drums, and I would like to hear more from the bassist. “Nu11” marks the point where the repeated patters begin to wear on me. The clean vocals however are quite surprising, and diverse. “Polarity” closes the album. Amidst the harrowing background, clean, despondent vocals and discernable bass guitar notes are welcomed.

This is Death Metal, make no mistake, but it isn’t the typical offering of shorter songs and repeated patterns. Though some of the songs sound similar to one another, there is enough variation and experimentation to hold your interest. It begins to wear on me over half-way through the album, however. There is only so many ways to skin a cat. For the style, it’s a solid album but could use some more diversity.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. (De)scendance
2. Penance
3. Scar of Man
4. Beyond the Mire
5. I Still Dream of the End
6. Adrenaline
7. Cutthroat
8. Sadist
9. Nu11
10. Polarity
Record Label: Unique Leader Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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