Metalcore has been a genre I’ve personally been listening to since I was about 12 years old; being introduced to bands like Trivium through various media outlets such as “Smackdown vs Raw”, as well as bands like Born of Osiris through just pure research. While it has been a genre I have been a huge fan of for the better part of my life, I’ve come to notice that it’s recently become really stale, with bands such as In Hearts Wake, Miss May I and Volumes (among many, many others) putting out really lackluster albums in the last few years.
Hailing from Hämeenlinna, Finland, What Awaits Us have come out with Anomaly, the follow up to their debut album Awake. Although it follows many of the original Metalcore structures and formulas, Anomaly is a nice, refreshing take on the now-stale genre and will impress old and new Metalcore fans alike.
Beginning the 5 track EP with “Hayflick Limit”, I found that it’s the only track that let me down in terms of providing something new and refreshing into the genre. Beginning with a somewhat typical introduction featuring a snare hit on every 4th note hit, a chug pattern and a lead that’s reminiscent of August Burns Red, the band kicks straight off into a chorus with the same lead and a chord progression that’s been heard more than 1000 times in the genre. The best part about this track is that it provides the other 4 songs on Anomaly with so much more power, energy and a sense of unexpectedness for what’s to come.
Continuing Anomaly with the lead single, “Framework”, What Awaits Us finally show the listener that they’re not just a typical band that’s rehashing the genre, with a stellar performance from each of the members. Eetu Mellin’s performance behind the kit really protrudes upon the first listen, as right from the get go he supplies a really intense and tight beat that set’s a violent and relentless tone for the rest of the track. Guitarists Olli Korpela and Miika Pouttu also deserve praise for their playing styles and songwriting skills, as they impressively match Mellin’s vigour and potency with sections very comparable to Veil of Maya and Breakdown of Sanity.
Ending the quintets recent release with my personal favourite track, “Lithium”, the band finish on a much more impressive high note than they began, with vocalist Jesse Sinisalo providing his most interesting, impressive and undeniably heavy execution. What I do enjoy when it comes to listening to music is trying to find or point out any of the bands influences, and with “Lithium”, you can hear a very interesting approach to Metalcore that bears comparison to bands such as Parkway Drive and Born of Osiris. Maybe a little bit too much Parkway, as the introduction almost INSTANTLY made me click and think “hang on, this is ‘Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em’”, but I welcome it as What Awaits Us manage to develop a refreshing outtake on the genre as a whole, perfectly projected through “Lithium”.
One thing that did upset me while listening to this record is the lack of bass performed by Ville Tamminen, or to better put it, the lack of interesting bass. I feel that if Tamminen was provided with some more space and room to shine and play something that isn’t following the rhythm guitar’s root note, What Awaits Us would be on their way to becoming one of the next big things in Metalcore. Unfortunately, this was a major let down for Anomaly, as I feel if Tamminen added his own extra little spice, it would be an outstanding release.
What Awaits Us definitely have the potential to make it big in their country and worldwide, and with a few little tweaks and being set on the right path to creating their own image and sound, the Finnish Quintet have shown that they have great talent in songwriting and musicianship with their latest self-released offering, Anomaly.