Boston Massachusetts Degrader are the latest in a long line of bands to not only appear in a thriving local scene that has seen everyone from Bury Your Dead to Unearth and more rise from it but also to sign for Stay Sick Recordings. The quartet released single “Fang” some 2 months ago so this release has been aa highly anticipated 10 tracks and 31 minutes.
A dark and almost Western film theme music riff starts “Breaker” with a slow atmospheric that builds into some chugging Metalcore riffage while keeping that intro tone for some clever lead flourishes. Some interesting tempo shifts throughout the darkness move the band between their Metalcore meat and some downtempo bone. “Scum (Put ’em up)” changes the game almost completely with some Nu-Metal riffs in a hardcore guitar tone, rap screams and a hardcore second vocal repetition that comes as a surprise move. Without pause for breath the faster opening of “Spirit Bomb” kicks in with some pounding full throttle kit work before the first verse kicks in. A couple of huge guitar drops allow for the bass to bleed through in the mix and there is an interesting synth part that doesn’t necessarily sound like it belongs but grows with repeated listens. Again, the band play with tempo and drop things to downtempo pace with a swirling lead flourish to close on a high.
Four tracks deep and the hardcore staple intro of “What We’ve Earned” kicks in with an efficient and effective bounce and groove. A feedback soaked opening vocal salvo and Nu-Metal introspective lyrics are the order of the day and the band mix up some chugging rhythm guitar work and bright atmospheric leads. The production value and the mix is really solid with the kit sounding big and impressive throughout. “Don’t Speak” sees the band joined by Ryan Santos for a more straight up Metallic Hardcore track that gives the main vocal growl more space to breathe. The band have fun with it, throwing in some stuccato riffs and vocal pops. But the band don’t seem happy to stick to that style and instead of continuing in that vein, the showcase some more Nu-Metal inspired with with “Comanche”. It’s a tune that uses buried electronics and a number of 1999 era guitar work elements while also featuring the albums title in its lyrics. It’s an eclectic mix of hardcore barks, rap-screams and bass rumbles that harks back to older bands with a nostalgic death stare. “Cry Wolf” threatens to break that sound with a menacing intro riff and some kit work but then inexplicably pick slides into some more of the same. It’s only after the verse that the band pull it back with some of that intro material and some downtempo riffs. The contrast in pitch between the barked lead vocal and the higher register of the backing vocalist are nice and something that will work well live.
“Ember” does a better job of fusing the lead and backing vocals together after a post-hardcore opening that builds into Metallic Hardcore for a verse and bridge before pulling it back again to close with some really impressive bright leads. Perhaps a melloncholic surprise, it’s an interesting move on what is a genre shifting album. First single “Fang” brings the band full circle to the Metallic Hardcore stylings that they offer in places for a grade A banger of a tune that fans of Deathcore will also enjoy, albeit without the brutal vocals that you get with that. Final track “Ghost” is a Nu-Metalcore tune that blends some tasteful riffs around some heartache laiden lyrics and has a decent dynamic with melodic parts that rise up into that heavier register before falling back again in cyclical fashion.
As we’ve suggested earlier in the review “Burn You Burn We” is a genre shifting album from a band who, at times seem to struggle with their identity. By the end the album sounds like a collection of songs rather than having a cohesive flow and that has a marmite effect. On the one hand, there is nothing massively wrong with the songs themselves but on the other they don’t necessarily sound good together. “Fang” is a banger of a tune and will hopefully mean that Degrader get another chance to make an album. When they do, they need to focus their collective and obvious skills and make an album of tunes in a consistent style so we can really hear what they’re all about [6/10]
“Burn You Burn We” by Degrader is out now via Stay Sick Recordings