Hailing from from Wolverhampton and playing Beatdown Hardcore with some Deathcore leanings, Old Wharf already have a reputation for tearing the place up. Their highly anticipated EP “Reside” appeared on 29th March, ahead of their originally planned Easter date as a welcome surprise to get our teeth into. At just over 13 minutes and 4 tracks, you know what you’re going to be in for.
The opening lead riffage “Defeated” is perhaps the call to arms of a Thrash band but it’s swiftly replaced by some downtempo chugs and a click-y loose string bass break. The vocals have that caustic Slam styling that heavier Deathcore bands use as implements of destruction but there are also some cleaner uncleans that offer a bit more bark and a bit less bite. Mid-song pig squeals are usually the subject of heavier bands but they work in this groovier context really well. There is a nuanced spoken word underneath the uncleans in the mix that appears after several listens. “Deaths Eyes” has that classic Nu-Hate Gloom guitar tone that the likes of Varials employ while using some vocal layering to give a schizophrenic face off with slight pitch differences, like screaming in the mirror and having it scream back in echo form. Showcasing some impressive vocal range with dark harsh whispers giving the vocals more punch.
“A.T.N.W” shifts through the gears and offers some of that Kublai Khan bass sound and some of that lead work we heard introducing the opening track. You can tick off the stylings with a gang chant and “Arf. Arf.” moment while the pause break chug of the rhythm gives everything a stompy feel. Lyrically the tale of a traitor biting the hand that feeds, the vocals are as venomous as they are savage…. and then comes “Reside”. After a thunderous intro, the vocals kick in with a Hacktivist-esq grime rap over some decent riffs that make you think you’re listening to a different band… until those vocals drop back to the brutal Deathcore stylings of the earlier. A faster and shorter tune than the rest, it punches just as hard with lengthy gaps between staccato riffage that leave the drums and vocals alone in the mix. In “Reside”, Old Wharf have put out an EP to rival the talents of the likes of Alpha Wolf without having that studio sheen that you get from a higher recording budget. If Bodysnatcher drummer and recording, mixing and mastering guru Chris Whited at 1776 Recordings is available next time out, then he really could give it that little something else [7.5/10]
“Reside” by Old Wharf is out now and available from iTunes