Meet Johnny the Boy.
Created by the alliance of Belinda (vocals), Justin Greaves (guitar/drums) and Matt Crawford (bass), all three members of Crippled Black Phoenix, the band developed its own style called Gloomcore with a debut album, You, released in 2023 by Season of Mist.
Die Already, the first track, lets a sample introduce the dissonant, heavy but strangely hypnotic sound, which is later joined by ominous growls in the background. The piercing leads stick to the riffs’ hazy approach, which slowly lead us into Grime, a slightly livelier composition which becomes much more haunting while keeping its veil of dark saturation. The mix is as strange as catchy, letting vocals appear from time to time before a crazier final which calms down on the first notes of He Moves, a slow but oppressive composition playing in a rather heavy register accompanied by thick Sludge influences. Endlessly Senseless gently shrouds us in its suffocating darkness before letting vocal parts appear to feed the ominous atmosphere created by the impressive heady riffs, before the sound subsides to let the long Crossings settle its soaring tones up. Thick heavy saturation will surely resurface, but the band keeps its haunting approach before indulging in raw violence, leading to mystical ethereal sounds. The sound gradually fades before flaring up again with Druh and its very raw jerky Hardcore tones, to which the band adds its saturated touch, but the track is quite short, just like Wired, the next one, which adopts the same vivid aggressive influences while letting a few screaming leads run. Without You, the final track, once again soothes the atmosphere with a final fix of melancholic riffs, which become heavier and more massive in due time, contrasting with the gentle Post-Rock roots filled with intense leads.
To properly listen to You, you need to understand one thing: Johnny the Boy has no boundaries, and the trio can blend the most opposed influences with the most complementary ones to create their timeless universe.