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Matriarchs – The Shape Of C#nt$ To Come Award winner

Matriarchs
The Shape Of C#nt$ To Come
by Oil Gonzalez at 20 December 2021, 6:30 AM

Just from the title of the album alone, I had a feeling that “The Shape Of C#nt$ To Come” was going to be interesting. To be truthful, I’m not really a fan of the hardcore genre. However, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to review the latest effort from the California based MATRIARCHS. The band are an amalgamation of musicians from previous projects in the area. It’s made me realise that perhaps there’s more to this genre than I realise and that I should keep a more open mind! Proceedings are kicked off with the aptly named “Intro”. That opening single strike of the guitar hits like a sledgehammer. I wasn’t ready that intensity, and had my headphones on way too loud. That certainly woke me up! Some over bands would have maybe added a lazy instrumental here, but MATRIARCHS take the opportunity to compress everything that’s unique about the band into less than 1 minute. Kay’s vocals are brutal, primal and straight on the nose. The song ends abruptly and I’m thinking “what the hell just happened? I want more!”.

Next up is “Solace”. I’m definitely getting a beatdown vibe with perhaps a nu-metal twist. That guitar tone is absolutely crushing! Maybe a little overpowering at times, but certainly is delightful. The introduction of cleaner vocals is most welcome. In the chorus, we hear the vocal line “I made it on my own”. That’s powerful! I particularly enjoyed it when this line – sang cleanly – was doubled up with some heavy backing vocals with the same line. A beauty and the beast contrast! “Ascendancy” opens with a brief yet sharp drum solo. This is quickly joined by the bass locking in. The guitars make an appearance, assaulting my ear drums from the left, right, left, right, before the song gets into full flow. It’s little things like this, these smaller details that make me really admire a band and make think they’ve really done their homework. MATRIACHS clearly have in this case. I’m definitely getting an OTEP from the vocals. That raw unadulterated primal shriek. That’s a thing of beauty!

Now “R.A.N”, for me this truly is the crown jewel for the band’s work! We see a different vocal, rather than an aggressive hardcore style, a more soothing melodic singing style with occasional use of synthetic effects. We start to hear more progressive elements and complex rhythms later in the song. I did wonder if I was listening to a TESSERACT song for a moment! But no, this just highlights the talent and depth of musical ability that MATRIARCHS possess, and as I said at the start, makes me realize there may be more to the hardcore genre than I previously thought. After digging through the band’s social media, I can see that this is a very personal and sensitive one to the band, tackling the subject of suicide. I can really feel that personal touch and the emotion in Kay’s vocals. Confession time; as I’m typing up this review, this song is playing in the background on repeat, which shows how fond of it I am. It’s hard to believe that other songs by the band have dozens more Spotify streams than this song!

If “R.A.N” was the crown jewel, sadly I have to say that “KarmaSutraPuta” is the weakest. For me, it just feels rushed, and nothing really stands out to me on it. Call me prude, whilst I understand that it’s a hardcore band, I just think there’s too much swearing. Swearing to the point where it loses its impact and borders on lacking creativity.
With that being said, “Shadow Work” is a much better representation of what the band is capable of. We see the raw hitting vocals and riffs that you’d expect from MATRIARCHS. However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear more progressive elements creeping in. Some of the intricate guitar work and the complex time signatures would make the musicians in OPETH blush!
The final track “Edge Lord (Feat. Jarren Benton)” starts with a rather delightful jazz drum groove. We’re then introduced from guest rap vocals Jarren Benton. I do wonder if this song feels a little out of place, although we do hear some of the elements that are becoming synonymous with MATRIARCHS’s sound. Also, the main melody throughout decided to plant it’s way into my long term memory, so it’s clearly done it’s job.

As a wrap up, I’ll sadly have to start on a negative. I do feel that the quality of the song writing is inconsistent. The band truly have so much potential and seem to pull off some masterpieces, then one or two that don’t truly represent what they’re capable of. That’s because they truly are capable and talented musicians. MATRIARCHS truly have challenged my understanding and perception of what the hardcore genre actually is. They’ve taken the raw and hard hitting components and added their own progressive take on it! The production quality clearly tells me that they’ve taken this very seriously, and considered all details. They’re definitely a band that I’ll be recommending to a few of my friends, who I’m sure will be instant fans of the band, just like I am now. I’m sure their music will find their way into my gym, driving, and other playlists!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Solace
3. Ascendancy
4. R.A.N
5. KarmaSutraPutra
6. Shadow Work
7. EdgeLorde
Lineup:
Kay - Vocals
Ben - Guitar
Carlos - Guitar
Miguel - Bass
Alfed - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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