Someone at Metal Hammer has got serious beef with Lincoln’s Borders. Poor reviews for both their live show with Martyr Defiled on their final run at Camden Underworld which we attended and now this very album. They’ve got it wrong. Very wrong. The person or people who did those reviews must have been a Classic Rock fan or something. Shania Twain lover perhaps. What should really happen, is they should post an apology in the magazine and then sponsor a US tour whereby Less Than Jake celebrate their “Borders & Boundaries” album by not only playing the thing in full every night, but also taking Borders and Boundaries as their support bands to mess with peoples minds! Time to get off the soap box. This is the full debut album from Borders and runs on the concept of a record which documents a timeline of human corruption. JJ Olifent, Gav Burton, Tom Britton and Dan Hodson are a band on a DJent fuelled Tech-Metal Mission.
Documenting the wartime atrocities of the Japanese experimental death camps “731” starts “Purify” off with some bludgeoning DJent riffs before frontman JJ Olifent showcases some impressive vocal range, first barking and growling some savage uncleans and then introducing a spoken word rap style that we’ve heard live before. The other thing they do vocally is add a clean backing layer to the uncleans but bury it in the mix so that you get it on repeated listens but may miss it on the first couple of spins. “Wake Up” is a vision into the future of human healthcare systems, albeit a bleak one. Again hammering in with the DJent riffs it’s a track that musically has plenty of bounce and aggression. The almost sung chorus is an instant sing-a-long that will go down well live. Stuccato Tech-Metal riffage starts off “Damage Everything” in fine form with Borders taking a page from Hacktivist‘s playbook for a verse of raping before a brutal unclean chorus. The sentiment of the lyrics should be clear from the song title and the song literally opens the book of hatred that the lyrics mention with a battering ram of a tune.
Slamming around some Tech-Metal lead flourishes over some big rhythm riffs “Bad Blood” keeps the bounce and energy high with a pummellingly good kit performance. Adding a second clean voice to underpin the unclean vocals of the chorus gives it a bit more punch when the verse breaks out and the closing breakdown is a slab of Modern Metal that everyone should enjoy headbanging to! Continuing the lyrical themes “War” talks about modern day political corruption and uses an AsteroidBoys inspired vocal for the verse to contrast against some of the more savage uncleans that appear elsewhere on the track. Dropping out the guitars so that the rapping is over the drums and a Tech bass riff is a fine piece of musicianship. Borders have honed their skills over their previous EP releases and live shows to produce an album of quality craftsmanship. “Demon’s Reach” takes the lead guitar work to a new level with phenomenal lead lick that adds a sprinkle of stardust to a powerhouse tune. That styling continues into “Nothing To Lose” that features a welcome “Bleigh!” moment with some Nu-Metal introspective lyrics underneath the juggernaut battering ram of guitars that would make Jonestown jealous. There is a sensibility to the lyrics and in particular the chorus that makes it a highly accessible tune while also being a slab of DJentist Metal that wants to drop a concrete slab on your head. The lead guitar work adds a sense of melody that takes it to the next level.
“A World Apart” has a fantastic call and response vocal during the opening section while having an Architects vibe. It shouldn’t really be the surprise that it ends up being because the Brighton Progressive Metalcore heroes are on top of the World at the moment. The change in vocals with a sort of clean scream as well as the odd whispered word is refreshing and a break from some of the darker uncleans. Contining that vocal style into “Faded” helps with the album continuity while moving in more of a Progressive Metalcore circle rather than the DJent of the earlier work. It may not have to offer the instant appeal of some of the earlier tunes but it is by no means a filler. “Walking Dead” brings the bands sound full circle to the Djenty riffs of the earlier tracks. Also returning is a rapped verse that actually name checks Hacktivist’s album though in the context of the theme of the track rather than purposefully. So we said Metal Hammer had it wrong. The naysayers have it wrong. Borders have created with “Purify” an absolute belter of an album that frankly has to be heard to be believed. One man’s rubbish is another’s gold. Literally [8/10]
“Nothing To Lose”
“A World Apart”
“Purify” by Borders is out now via Long Branch Records and available over at bandcamp.