Review: “The Body” by Earth Groans
At the forefront of a resurgence of early 2000’s Metalcore and continuing the work of bands like Norma Jean and Impending Doom as well as having a prolific output that has seen them drop an EP every year via Solid State Records has taken its toll on Earth Groans with the exit of guitarist Zachariah Mayfield and bassist Kaden Burton ahead of this new offering. Both left on seemingly amicable terms citing all the usual reasons for doing so when a band reaches the kind of level this one has, that is well known and respected but in need of some bigger national support slots to continue their growth. The result of that is that “The Body” is the work of drummer Brady Mueller and frontman Jeremy Schaeffer with the latter turning multi instrumentalist and adding both guitars and bass to his repertoire.
The departures have inevitably lead to minor but noticeable changes in the bands sound with less in the way of lead work and more in the way of breakdowns with a little bit of a dampening down of the progression that the band were making on their last few offerings. That is by no means a bad thing as these cuts have an instant appeal with Schaeffer having the kind of brutal roar and depth of lyric that gives far more than meets the eye. The one word song titles are all references to the sacrament of communion, the main focus of the themes running on feelings of depravity as Schaeffer faces his inner demons, quite literally on the brutal juggernaut that is “Remember” and funds hope in the Gospel. One of the highlights, Mueller throws down a whirlwind of percussive battery that helps the elevate beyond the genres barriers. Opener “Take” makes clever use of samples with a cautionary tale of Wolves in sheep’s clothing before “Eat” talks about the last night of Jesus’s life before the crucifixion while “Believe” is effectively the title track as it brings the narrative full circle. Fortunately as with Impending Doom, those lyrics aren’t overbearing in any way and there is plenty of other things to be enjoyed and taken from the EP aside from the religious aspects and if anyone thought that this wasn’t a heavy record, guess again. In point of fact, only moment that couldn’t be considered heavy are a few clean vocal parts on “Drink” which work incredibly well. There is plenty to get into the pit for here with razor sharp riffage and a tendency to lean on the lyrics for creating a sense of tension rather than doing so with the music. Overall rather than being a potential step backwards sonically “The Body” is a solid and thought provoking affair that stands up well against the bands previous offerings. It may not push things forward but it doesn’t need to, instead proving perhaps against the odds that despite problems faced, the will to overcome is in its heart. Logically the next EP in this narrative arc would be “The Blood” so if you can think of ways to put breakdowns on that then Schaeffer has already done it. [7/10]
“The Body” by Earth Groans is out now via Solid State Records