Review: “Grief Enslaved” EP by Reclaimer

Lincoln Melodic Hardcore quartet Reclaimer have been on the road for a while now and with a pair of singles in “Chapter II” and “Merge” which features a guest appearance from I, The Map Maker frontman Ash Emery appearing between their debut EP and this one showing plenty of promise, it’s no real surprise that they have been picked up by a growing label in Famined Records. The mothers of vocalist Harrison Cook, drummer Cameron Corton, bassist Robert Featherson and guitarist Michael Whittey must be proud. Given that there are 5 tunes and we’ve had full music videos for “Canvey”, “July” and “Let Go”, we’ve already got an insight as to what this is going to be like.

For a band that considers themselves to be Melodic Hardcore, there is an obvious Counterparts influence on the EP as a whole which is evident from the start of “Meloncholy”. The powerful introspective lyrics escape the trappings of Nu-Metal with a level of integrity and gravity that requires attention. The guitar work has a glorious flow to it, with a bright melodic tone chosen. After a short introduction “Closed Letter” has a powerful opening statement set apart from the opening verse by a wonderful piece of rhythm guitar that develops as the track plays out. It’s a defiant anthem lyrically that takes simply says I’m getting up off the floor, dusting myself off and getting things back on track. Rather than having solos or lead flourishes, the whole song is highlighted by a continuous lead that adds a brightness musically. The clever drop out of everything except the guitar for a run mid track is a joy.

Speaking of feeling trapped in a constant haze and needing to find that moment of clarity before acting “Let Go” sees Harrison Cook get an extra squeeze of emotion from his vocals that can only mean the song has more of a personal meaning to him. Again so clever drop outs of the rhythm section add a nice dynamic to the music while Cameron Corton puts in his finest kit performance on the EP with some with some equally clever and playful moments. This is emotive music, grab the microphone and scream along music. “July” has a really interesting pair of ambient clean guitar passages that border on something you’d find on a Progressive release that builds the atmosphere. There is interesting use of breakdown sections as rhythm parts behind the leads that nuance out over multiple listens and add to a shoegazing quality to the song. That same Progressive clean guitar work leads in “Canvey” before the lyrics and crushing rhythm section comes into play and returns us to the bands core sound. There’s a brilliant blast beat section that takes things to another level that’s followed up by some choice juddering guitar work. If it wasn’t obvious from the start, the EP is essentially a concept release around coping with the end of a relationship and from start to finish takes you on a journey through every emotion. It sounds complete as a piece of work [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Meloncholy
  2. Closed Letter
  3. Let Go
  4. July
  5. Canvey

“Grief Enslaved” by Reclaimer is out now via Famined Records

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