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PRIDELANDS: Light Bends

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Resist Records

January 14

Words by Matt Gabites

2021 wasn’t the worst year for heavy music, but nor was it an ‘86. So will 2022 just hold the line or break the mould?

Let’s see.

The first band with a chance to answer this is Melbourne based five-piece metal outfit Pridelands with their new album Light Bends.

Starting things off with the synth heavy I Reach into Your Heart, echoey keys shimmer amongst a programmed drum beat as the bands ‘clean’ vocalist Joshua Carey sings along in a suitably forlorn manner. This pattern holds for nearly the entire song before the unclean vox of Mason Bunt enters the fray. This really is the only change to the song’s dynamic, giving the track an industrial groove as it plays out.

The Walls repeats the formula, but with an altogether better vocal line that drives the mood of the song forward in a far more compelling fashion. But then we get the scream-o vox biting around the edges, and I can’t say it’s for the better. However, just moments later when the heavier singing is given its own space, the song becomes another beast altogether.

That increase in heaviness continues on Parallel Lines where the unclean vox leads the line early on and chugging, stop start guitars get slammed from all sides by some thunderous drumming by Joe Lipsham. Midway through and another classy vocal passage bridges the gap between the mayhem.

Parted Time perhaps best showcases the style of Pridelands with the perfect blend of clean/unclean vox and truly heavy moments accentuated by the softer ones via yet another great vocal melody. Keep an eye out for the mosh pit inducing outro too.

The Lake of Twisted Limbs returns to the familiar path walked by the opening two tracks. It’s also at this stage of the album that I found myself wondering when guitarist Liam Fowler was going to play a riff. Sure, the angsty vocals offset by clean vocals with all manner of drum FX and synth shenanigans is fine, but without a satisfying, palette cleansing riff in the mix it can all start to sound a bit samey. So….prove me wrong, Safer Here.

Or not!

A template is at play and the band are great exponents of it, but it is another mid-tempo mood piece and as such struggles to stand out.

Heavy Tongue gives the navel-gazing a wide birth, wakes up and rocks a badly needed rise in tempo. This is more like it! Another standout and more of the same please!

Antipathy does indeed maintain the rage and is driven along beautifully by the well-placed bass of Danie Lohry while the duo on vocal duties manage to get into an impressive pissing contest trying to outdo each other.

Translucent Blues is another impressive example of minimalist songwriting that can still set a mood. Whilst Evergrowth is another track beset by familiarity.

And so it is down to final track The Sun Will Find Us to close things out. The longest song on offer here at just over five minutes long begins with a needle on vinyl crackle and yet more atmospheric keyboards. Clean vox adds another layer to the melancholy before the angry vox circle stomps over everything, and this is repeated in various forms before fading out on the back of some haunting synth notes.

Pridelands have delivered an album that won’t have anyone aligning ‘22 with ‘86 just yet, but it is an album of well constructed, well executed and brilliantly produced songs. An album absolutely worthy of your consideration and a band to keep an eye on.

Pre-order Light Bends here.

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