Since there inception 5 years ago in 2013, Bohemian Grove have been cutting their own path through the opposition in the Deathcore World with their fusion of tech-metal and electronica into the core sound. Since then, the six piece Northern wrecking ball hailing from the Leeds & York area have smashed their way through a slew of live shows playing material from a their pair of 2014 EPs in January’s “Eternal Ruin” debut and it’s September follow up “Silence of Decay” which features the 2014 summer single “A False Vision”. This, their 10 track March 2017 full debut album is one we’ve waited a long time to review. So, by popular demand, lets get into it.
64 second opener “Hollow” wastes no time and gets straight to the point with a powerful guttural roar from frontman Spencer Costello over a huge downtuned breakdown before a single verse that is inter-spliced with electronic vocal cuts and tech-inspired lead guitar to close. It’s a powerful tone setter that bursts into the blast beats and frantic guitars of “The Darker Side Of Humanity” without a break. Slowing things down after the chaotic opening 45 seconds, we get a slow tech breakdown over a lifting synth later before the next crushing verse and guitar barrage. The song is very much of the beauty vs beast tech-metal side of the Deathcore scene and creates a great balance between the pair. “Demons” is a song that the band have been playing live for a long time, having featured in their live set since May 2106. Starting of with subtle and building electronica before bursting into a drum fill from sticksman Ryan Thackwray and another powerful guttural roar from Costello, it’s a powerhouse of a track that builds with a rise and fall of dark atmosphere. “Fractures” then takes us on a journey through an electronic palette cleanser of dubstep inspired beats with under layer of synths from Paul Key that showcases some of the electronica that is buried inside the bands regular material. It’s an instrumental that could have been used for other purposes but instead refreshes before the storm of “We’ll All Survive”. Keeping the opening guitars dialled back and building up slowly through DJent inspired grooves before getting into the breakdown avoids a jolt from the sounds of “Fractures”. The flourish of guitar leads spread throughout a whirlwind affair provides that contrast while the synth patterns towards to closing sections provide that contrast against the chugging guitars and brutal vocals.
“They’ll Never Speak” starts to take Bohemian Grove into Chelsea Grin territory with Costello showing greater range with some higher pitched tones and a surprise “Blegh!”. Greater use of atmospheres by breaking up the guitars and playing on ambience with some slow staccato riffage over spacious drum fills and electronica gives the track a bigger sound and allows the heavier bounce effect when the guitars kick in. “Refuse to Be a Martyr” might sound familiar in places, the lead guitar part is a slowed down version of the intro riff from “A Voice From Below” by Emmure from 2011’s “Speaker of the Dead” and perhaps shows an unsurprising influence on guitarists Rich Robertson and Jonny Lang. Hell, they may even take their band name from the Emmure track of the same title. That being said, the rest of the track is a mosh-a-thon affair of crushing riffs and atmospheric synths which have an almost eerie effect on the overall sound of the song. There is also the use of a drum machine or effect across the bridge that adds a fresh dynamic. “Synapse”, is the second instrumental break in the album, diving back into the beats that underpin the bands Deathcore sound for a 90 second burst. “You’re All So Blind” then steps things up at a pace with a sinister and anguished vocal and bludgeoning instrumentation. The use of blast beats around the lead guitars is a nice touch and bassist Craig Gordon is allowed a moment as his tones drive over synths in the pre-final verse instrumentation. Saving one of the better songs for last, “Go Alone” tears things up with a final flourish. Hook laden and driven at pace, there is no let up until the mid song breakdowns pile in and the almost but not quite gang chanted chorus is probably the only sing-a-long moment in the album as a whole.
In “Hollow”, Bohemian Grove deliver a polished and interesting Deathcore album, full of tech-metal and electronic infusions alongside the usual genre elements. Everything is done with verve and energy and the band have clearly honed the skills that were on show on their previous efforts over the near 3 years that have gone by. There is plenty of variety within each song, tempo changes, unexpected and yet perfectly timed lead guitar flourishes and electronic outbursts. Bohemian Grove have a very bright future indeed [7.5/10]
“The Darker Side Of Humanity”
“We’ll All Survive”
“They’ll Never Speak”
“Refuse to Be a Martyr”
“You’re All So Blind”
“Hollow” by Bohemian Grove is available over at bandcamp.