Review: “Self Titled” by Far From Refuge

Formed in Cambridge in 2016 and comprising Guitarist/Vocalist Joel Sutherland, Vocalist Suran Jayathilaka, Guitarist Jonathan Graye, Bassist/Vocalist Matt Poskitt and Drummer Ákos Kobela are Far From Refuge. They dropped their first EP back in February, promising a fusion of Metalcore, Progressive Metal and Melodic Death Metal in equally high, possibly lethal doses.

The deceptively Melodic introduction of “Emergence” is blasted out of the water by a huge pick slide and galloping kit work accompanied by some caustic unclean vocals from Jayathilaka. While the uncleans are cutting and a cross between Lamb of God‘s Randy Blythe and Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder or even ex-A Life Once Lost and current Mind Power vocalist Robert Meadows, the cleans are more akin to something that someone like Joel Birch of The Amity Affliction might offer. You couldn’t get a more contrasting vocal pairing if you tried. It makes for an interesting combination and interplay as rather than the music slowing down for the clean parts (which has been known to pain the not was good Metalcore acts), the pacing of the music is more in line with the cleans from the start and consistent throughout. The Metalcore riffage is expansive and bordering on Progressive in the bridging sections, while the melodic breakdown is reminiscent of the Star Trek theme music, tying in nicely with the cover art.

The programmed Synth opening to “The Architect” is quickly buried by some classic 2000s era Shadows Fall esq guitars, full of high energy bounce. The polished nature of the tunes and high quality mix and mastering job allows for all the elements to shine while the band showcase some impressive musicanship. Taking the viewpoint of a God like creator for the lyrical side and mixing the vocal pitching with the uncleans adds a greater depth to the sound and both vocalists having crossover layering makes the tune simply immense. Starting out slower, single “Circuits” contrasts the caustic uncleans against the backdrop of a more Melodic Progressive Metalcore passage, while the cleans are almost spoke word in places. The electronics of a programmed drum loop bleed though a clean vocal passage but it’s the surprisingly 80’s Hard Rock solo that wins the day. It’s well fitted to the soundtrack if not the vocals and a nice touch. Featuring a heavier intro of stuccato riffage “There Was A Light” that repeats post Melodic chorus adds a weight and gravity to the music that wasn’t previously apparent while a Nekrogoblikon styled breakdown bridge section and icey keys give a haunting quality. As with the earlier tracks there are a few Progressive Technical elements thrown into the mix, with this tune it’s an elongated tapping section, but Far From Refuge manage to keep that in check and not over do it. Warblings for warblings sake aren’t fun. Unless you’re into that. The surprise opening guitar work of “Beings” has something of Evenescence about it alongside a beautiful clean vocal passage that breaks into a solo before more solo. Arguably the most Progressive of the tunes it’s a fitting closing to an very solid debut [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Emergence
  2. The Architect
  3. Circuits
  4. There Was A Light
  5. Beings

“Self titled” by Far From Refuge is out now and available over at bandcamp

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