Release Date: 9th March 2018
Two of the most exciting, yet over-saturated markets in the UK metal scene over the past five years have certainly been those of UK Metalcore and Tech Metal. In scenes bustling with bands to choose from, I always get a sense of having to wade through some of the shit before finding the diamonds.
Being completely honest, prior to this review I knew absolutely nothing about Oxford/Southampton five piece Perception, with the exception of glancing their name on few show posters. After reading their description as ‘Tech Influenced-Metalcore’, my barriers instinctively went up and I was at the ready to give their new five track EP Monolith a bit of a kicking…
I knew Monolith had to offer something else for me to take to it, and despite Perception not exactly reinventing the wheel with their sound, boy have they smacked me in the face with a solid serving of humble pie.
Imagine a sound driven by the sonic, tech heaviness and instrumentation of Heart Of A Coward and Architects, coupled with a vocalist pulled straight from the Post-Hardcore world of Heights’ Thomas Debaere, meddled together with tons of ambience and effects. Monolith is a well rounded and well produced piece of work that will surely catapult them up the pecking order on the UK market.
Monolith offers a 20 minute hammering of bass drops, intricate guitar work, and some massive hooks provided by a vocalist packed with ability. Ben’s willingness to switch between vulnerability and all out aggression really ramp up the momentum when those heavier moments come forward, he’s really the stand out factor to Perception that makes me baffled as to why he isn’t already doing bigger things.
Disappointingly, on first listen opening track ‘Strive’ has a relatively generic and predictable start, but it takes literally 30 seconds for the EP to kick into full swing and crack on from there. Track four of Monolith (also called Monolith!), is my favourite on the EP, and certainly their heaviest. Behind the technical, down tuned riffing at the forefront, there’s also some really intricate high-end guitar work snugly fit into the background which works wonderfully in the mix.
The positives of Monolith certainly outweigh the negatives, especially since I was so sceptical initially. However, one of my issues is that the use of ambience in the Tech/Metalcore world seems to have become as cliché as the Pop-Punk Ballad. It’s not that Perception’s slightly more ambient and calmer moments aren’t decent, is just that the band are so much better when they’re at their most ruthless and ignoring them completely.
Secondly, the of ability bassist/clean singer Al is undeniable, but it seems the band don’t fully know what to do with him as yet. The clean moments towards the end of ‘Strive’ and ‘Defy Dismay’ seem bolted on and almost shoehorned in. Honestly, they aren’t needed, the song could’ve ended without them and I would have been even further satisfied. A much better example is that of ‘Survive’, both vocalists trading off one another to kick the song in works brilliantly.
Overall, for a UK scene scrambling with bands fighting for exposure, Perception have done brilliantly with Monolith to stand themselves head and shoulders above so many others. This release has done enough to change me from someone who knew nothing about this band to actually having a vested interest in them going forward, which in a world where most bands are available at a click of a button, Perception have really set themselves up for a bright 2018 indeed.
Monolith will be released 9th March 2018 and is now available to pre-order via the band’s Big Cartel site.
Recommended Tracks: Monolith, Defy Dismay