Vacant Voice takes the floor.
Formed in the USA in 2022, the band comprising Shane Murphy (drums), Ethan Taylor (guitar), Brad Wilson (vocals), Mikeal Dollak Posch (guitar/vocals) and Austin Olson (bass) brought their Metalcore to fruition with Cathartic Beauty, their debut album, in 2023.
Cathartic Beauty, the eponymous track, opens the album with a progressive melancholic sound, quickly joined by powerful vocals in the background. The riffs become more energetic and jerky, sometimes placing more complex or heady touches to accompany clean vocals before leading us into Roscoe’s Violent Dreams and its dissonant harmonics. More aggressive elements are added to the soaring melodies, feeding the contrast and the vocal duet before the rhythmic ignites on No Forever and its groovy yet oppressive approach, which perfectly fits its raw basis. A few lighter touches are added to the lively sound, and then Collapse begins in melancholy, before offering calm tones somewhere between Alternative Metal and Metalcore. Screams are of course never far away, as is the heady dissonance, but the track gives way in gentleness to Half Light and its waves of raw aggression, barely tempered by clean vocals. Catchy riffs multiply before letting airy leads accompany us to Detachment and its surge of burning rage, letting the band spread its heaviest elements in jerky patterns, as well as on an intense break. The short Self-Surrender stays with this energetic, raw groove approach, accompanied by a few samples to strengthen heaviness, then Transience closes the album with motivating Hardcore influences, but also an interesting vocal duet which perfectly complements the band’s Old School Metalcore approach.
With this first release, Vacant Voice show us what they’re capable of, with jerky moshpart but also softer melodic parts. Cathartic Beauty remains a bit short, but it’s relatively well-balanced, and will easily please.