Bringing out new music under anther name when you’re already in an established band with a known style is always something of a risk. But it’s one that Shamecult, a new band featuring Outline in Color vocalist Trevor Trato and guitarist Michael Skaggs (also of Miss Fortune) have taken the plunge with. Alongside former members of Conquer Divide (bassist Ashley Colby) and Miss Fortune (drummer Nick Taylor) have done with their self-titled EP. The lineup is rounded out by guitarist CJ Cochran. Appearing on Chris Fronzak’s (of Attila fame) Stay Sick Recordings label in late November, this is the review we said we’d do but never quite got there. Until now.
“Passion Atrophy” starts the bands self-titled EP by introducing the bands Melodic Hardcore style with Trevor Trato showing the full breadth of his vocal range. From the bark, to the scream, to the clean sung chorus lines and the spoken harsh whisper, delivered with a passion and energy that pays homage to the likes of Beartooth and Stick To You Guns. Socially aware angst ridden lyrics tell the tale while Outline In Color Guitarist Michael Skaggs delivers a collection of driven and energetic riffs. “Void” delivers a gang chant chorus with circle pit friendly guitars wrapped around swirling drum fills. Then slowing down to an almost beatdown hardcore pace to deliver it’s message before bursting back into the chorus is a real moment of decent song writing. “Loathe” (which is a becoming a word increasingly used in Metal circles at the moment) slows the pace for a melodic introduction before the guitars gradually build back into the style of the first pair of songs. Lyrical depth is matched by vocal power as the band deliver something for you to bang your head to while also giving you something to think about. The use of melodic breaks to allow the song to breathe before returning to the hallmark sound give the song an extra punch. Both “Void” and “Loathe” have a Davy Muise-esq vocal quality with a Vanna style Melodic Hardcore crossover approach at times. “Dregs” nihilistic lyrics and passionate delivery expresses the pain of the youth of America being downtrodden. The EP then closes with the bitter and twisted “For My Friends”, slowing the tempo to raise the issue of suicide and homelessness with melody and drive. It has to be said that on repeated listens the desperate themes of the EP shine through, with the socially aware lyrics being on message throughout and covering things like self loathing, the heroin epidemic sweeping the US, the self medication and substance abuse that comes with it. The musicianship and song writing on display is solid and after a fierce start, the atmospheres are as dark as the blackest of nights. [7/10]
1. Passion Atrophy
5. For My Friends