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Riddlebreak – Architeuthis

by Ian Yeara at 07 March 2021, 7:17 AM

Alright so RIDDLEBREAK might be my first South African band which is actually really cool, I've been paying a little more attention to what countries the music listening to comes from and I like the idea of trying to listen to metal from every single country in the world.

In their promotional material the band likes to say "you can't label us!", but there's no need to complicate matters. They are Progressive Metalcore, with a little bit of Djent, then again it seems to me that every Metalcore band these days uses Djent in their sound anyway. It's really good Metalcore though, and anyone who knows me knows that for me to compliment something on that end of the metal spectrum, it must be interesting at least.

First of all I actually like the vocals, I'm trying to think who he reminds me off, maybe PERIPHERY at times, maybe the vocalist for PERSEFONE, but most importantly NOT BTBAM, for obvious reasons almost all progressive metalcore gets compared to BTBAM, but that is not at all what these guys are aiming for. Actually they almost remind me of THE CONTORTIONIST now that I think about it. They really like the more ambient, atmospheric side of things when they're not riffing.

I have to admit, when I first put this album on I wasn’t impressed. My reaction was more or less “great, Metalcore, just what I wanted”, but with it being such a short recording (19 minutes) and all I listened to it like 4 times in a row, and with each listen I found myself enjoying new aspects of each song.

"Allegiant" is probably the most aggressive track of the four and was largely responsible for my initial reaction; but when you really pay attention to the details, there’s a lot to notice. First of all, the Violin is playing underneath everything almost throughout the entire EP, so when I noticed that on my second time through I was much more positively inclined. The riffs are really heavy, but also probably one of my least favorite aspects of the album. I like Djent style riffs sometimes, it can be very hit and miss and really repetition ends up being the biggest problem with a lot of Djent. These guys make it work most of the time, still there are moments where I don’t like what’s going on like the opening to "The Hog". Too Deathcore for my tastes, but they do themselves a favor by not lingering too long on any one riff, so even the riffs I don’t like as much don’t end up ruining the whole affair for me.

I can probably sum it up by saying I really like the intricate complex riffs and I don’t like the really downtuned chugging riffs, I’m a Prog fan, what do you want from me? Fortunately, these guys are actually pretty good songwriters and the way they mix in the violin arrangements with the metalcore aspects really works for me. By far the best parts of this EP are the bridges/development sections, none of the songs are particularly catchy, but the violin riffs help add a little melody to this otherwise incredibly amelodic music. Probably the best example of this is in "The Hog"; coming out of a pretty heavy section, suddenly we get this beautiful piano line that just totally threw me for a loop. I was not expecting that kind of break from this band and that leads into a great violin section playing the melodic riff, on top of the djenty guitar which like I said, makes the guitar sound so much more palatable.

My thoughts are a bit fragmented on this one because I had a bit of a whiplash effect. During my first listen I was working so I wasn’t paying as much attention and the really heavy parts had me concerned. I’m repeating myself a bit, but man that third play through this album was eye opening, there’s still sections that I don’t like and I do wish the band would write actual choruses, but at least the melodic parts sound great, and I actually do really like the lead guitar player when he’s playing more prominently. Actually in a few places, Julian Vosloo almost reminds me of PERSEFONE, I can definitely tell there’s some influence there.

Oh I almost forgot to mention, "A Momentary Brightness" features a harp! I don’t really care for the rest of the song, but once again the development section saves it for me. I can appreciate a band’s stylistic preferences even if I don’t share them, as long as they intersperse it with cool proggy sections. Seriously I want to hear this band write longer, more intricate songs, there are a lot of great ideas on this EP that seem to be cut short or not developed enough.

In the end, I did really enjoy this album, it just took some getting used to; being only 20 minutes long definitely helped, but most importantly it’s not sloppy. Even if I don’t like everything they’re doing I can tell they’re doing it with purpose and passion and that is one of the most important things to me when I review an album.

It doesn’t matter if I like it, I’m not going to like a lot of promos I critique, what’s important is that they write with passion and energy and that they accomplish whatever they set out to do. I guess I can’t know for sure, but for people who enjoy the genre more than I, this seems like it would be pretty excellent, as it is I’m kind of curious to see what their next LP is like, because if they can balance the Prog and -Core like this, I might actually end up becoming a fan. If you like Metalcore, Prog, or Djent then I advise you to check this out, you might not like all of it, but I’m sure there’s something here for everyone.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Allegiant
2. The Hog
3. A Momentary Brightness
4. Eyes of the World Ender
Laura Atkinson – Violin
Roushan Van Niekerk – Bass
Jade Osner – Vocals
Gordon Bosma – Drums
Gareth Reed – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Julian Vosloo – Lead guitar
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 01 December 2022

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