Greeley Estates – ‘The Narrow Road’ EP Review

With a sound so caustic it could be used to strip paint, Greeley estates are one of those bands who indulge in furious hardcore-infused metal (somehow the watered-down term metalcore just doesn’t seem to do this justice) with a commitment that exudes a sense of menace that you just don’t get with the majority of the mainstream exponents of the genre. Having been active since 2002, despite several line-up shifts, Greeley Estates have had plenty of time to develop their sound and on ‘the narrow road’ EP they deliver a perfect summation of their skills, marking them out very much as leaders in a genre in dire need of exactly such a kick up its backside.

Take opening track ‘the narrow road’ with its searing guitar assault, perpetually maxed-out vocals and industrial elements seeping through the pores – as crushing as being trapped in an industrial cement mixer, there is just enough melody on offer to keep the track memorable without degenerating into a sonic mess, although the overall feeling is of being violated with a large serrated blade by a screaming maniac with blood on his hands a glint in his eye. Similarly horrific is ‘head under water’, a track that opens with a violence that is as shocking as being water boarded, albeit the band do succumb to infernal temptation, unleashing a chorus that is shamelessly and incongruously melodic. It is a hint of the more formulaic approach inherent in metalcore as a genre and it is a relief when ‘lot lizards’ proves to be a track of untrammelled aggression delivered with the bug-eyed intensity of a youth who has spent the last ten years of his life blankly absorbing horror movies in the dark confines of his bedroom. It is a highlight of the EP and it is delivered with such vicious misanthropy that it should come with a health warning. ‘Watch it burn’ delivers on its promise of an inflammatory moment by opening with a searing scream, the guitars churning away in the background before the track side-slips into a strangely off-kilter melody that works far better than the more pop-infused chorus delivered in ‘head under water’.

As if to confirm their sociopathic tendencies, Greeley estates unleash ‘die’ in a flurry of scattered percussive bombs and churned out riffs leaving broken bodies and shattered bone out in the open for all to see, the machine gun drum assault that marks the mid-section of the song proving to be particularly inspiring. Unsurprisingly ‘Lennox House’ maintains the level of misanthropic disdain developed elsewhere, and has you wondering about the sanity of vocalist Ryan Zimmerman whose roars, screams and gargles have to be heard to be believed, whilst the band deliver pile-driving riffs with gleeful malice. The final track ‘doomsday’ operates off the back of a syrupy doom riff, off-set by the frantic percussive assault of Chris Julian (whose performance here is never less than exemplary) and you’re left vaguely fearful for your life after so comprehensive an aural beating has been delivered.

That Greeley Estates lead the overcrowded metalcore genre is in no doubt. This is pure, undiluted, uncommercial rage delivered with a passion and intensity that the pretenders to the throne can hardly conceive of, let alone replicate. If you’re looking for evidence of why metalcore has the potential to be such a formidable genre when done properly, look no further than this terrifyingly violent excursion into the realms of furious misanthropy – an awesome EP that is as close to essential as metalcore gets.

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