Review: “Breathe” EP by Downfall

Downfall are a hard-hitting, melody heavy Metalcore act hailing from Lancashire. They’ve spent two years making “Breathe”, their debut EP and have recently shared a stage with Carcer City and Last Hounds at Satan’s Hollow in Manchester and will soon be joining Borders and The Human Veil at Manchester Rebellion. The EP features production from Loathe guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe and a guest vocal appearance from Kadeem France. Are you ready?!

Starting out with a quirky space age instrumental of buried speech samples and programmed electronics “Intro” has the feel of an Science Fiction film inspired eerie haunt that quickly steps aside for “Home”. Blending that Nu-Hate Gloom groove with some Post-Hardcore touches it’s one that genre shifts effortlessly. The use of buried electronics that bleed out during some of the staccato guitar breaks adds to the feel while interweaving the intro music keeps everything tight. “Deafen Me” continues the vibe of off kilter melodic touches that break the heavier elements into smaller pieces without losing the energy of the music or schizophrenic agony of the lyrics. Opening with some a driven bassline and some swirling guitars after the kind of 1999 era intro that Slipknot would be proud of “Close Your Eyes” has the lyrical delivery that calls to be listened to. The Nu-Metal inspired introspective lyrics are matched by the groove of some solid guitar work and a chunky, mosh heavy mid section breakdown part that is a real floor filler. It’s no surprise that with Erik Bickerstaffe in the producers chair and the music more than lending itself that none other than Loathe frontman Kadeem France should appear for a vocal cameo. Musically there are a number of comparisons that we could make, most obviously to Blood Youth who are a band heading in this direction but also to the likes of Lotus Eater and God Complex but with a melodic side that has more beauty in a stark and cold industrial sense than either of that trio of bands.

Continuing the trend of the epic introduction, “X” in an instrumental piece out Loathe‘s “Cold Sun” playbook and sets up the second half of the EP and “Open Your Mind” perfectly. Lyrically and vocally ferocious, “Open Your Mind” makes a venomous call for an unnamed individual to do exactly that with a musical bounce and energy that is unrelenting over the tracks short existence. There are some savage uncleans and a thunderous bassline creating a classic Nu-Hate Gloom soundtrack that begs for your attention. The third instrumental piece on the EP “Let Go” uses that same stark industrial soundscape of buried electronics to create a science fiction vibe and user in closer “Breathe” in style. The off kilter melodic guitar work is backed by both male and female clean vocals of aching beauty. While there is no step up into the heavier register this time out in terms of vocals but there doesn’t need to be as the lyrics lend themselves to a different approach. In music as in life, so much is about timing. Downfall have the right sound to fit into a scene that is very current, very fresh and very epic. They manage to strike the perfect balance between the heavier and the more melodic elements within this debut EP that simply must be heard [9/10]

Track listing

  1. “Intro”
  2. “Home”
  3. “Deafen Me”
  4. “Close Your Eyes” (Feat. Kadeem France of Loathe)
  5. “X”
  6. “Open Your Mind”
  7. “Let Go”
  8. “Breathe”
“Breathe” by Downfall is out 20th April

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