Survivalist play a powerful and highly technical style of metal, heaving with intense riffs, deep-rooted bass hooks and devastating drums. All this energy is elevated beyond the stratosphere by earth shattering vocals that burn and blister.
Belfast is a bustling and thriving city. It has many scars from times past, but it also has a history that’s monumental. The world-renowned Harland & Wolff shipyard is where the infamous RMS Titanic was built, along with many other mammoth ocean liners. Belfast likes to do things big, and that seems to rub off on their music, and in particular, the metal scene. It has now given birth to Survivalist, a metalcore band who’s sound eclipses those great ocean giants. VII is their debut album and it’s like a battleship that’s armed and loaded with blistering riffs, thundering percussions and vocals that torpedo through the ocean with ease. See what you think!
Survivalist’s first track on the album, In Which I Envy opens in meditative and tranquil fashion with waves rolling and crashing along the northern coast, as rich piano keys ebb and flow through the synthesised sea mist. Distant vocals rebound off the ocean’s surface, releasing waves of white horses, that advance, building and growing in stature as they approach the shoreline. As they roll and crash, they release a deadly riff, dripping in lead guitar swells and pummelling drums. As the waters begin to roughen, the vocals become gritty and hostile as the tempo reaches fever pitch. A chorus of more subdued vocals try to calm the waters with reflections of bands like the mighty Amorphis filling the sea air momentarily, before a tsunami of deathly riffs and percussions relentlessly pound the beaches, flooding all in its path and creating an absolute monster of an opening track.
End Of Lust wastes no time in getting in your face with chants and war cries battering you right from the start, followed by huge guitars and insane double bass drums kicking the shit out of everything in its path. The hooks in this track are razor sharp and pierce the skin with ease, digging deep into your flesh. The pace and the power is off the scale with nuances of nu-metal synths hiding in fear behind the wall of noise. The finale comes thick and fast with those guttural vocals ripping and shredding in a mass of metalcore glory.
Greed and Obsession gallops though sharp, clinical riffs and deep-rooted bass guitar hooks, while clean melodic vocals harmonise with cave-like, rasping growls. The track is heaving in energy and brute force, but it’s all carefully managed, and never out of control. The same can be said for Pride Brings Ruination, with its coarse rumbling verses and a momentary breakdown of clean singing, yes, I said singing! But this is Survivalist, so any moment of calm is going to be torn asunder, and with more insane drumming the track powers to its conclusion, in a sea of insanity.
Not only is the track title The Gluttony Of A God masterful in itself, but the delivery is again, done with visceral intent and metronomic precision. The musicianship here is something to behold and is staggering to think that this is their first full album, and what’s even more insane is that this group has only been making music since 2019, it boggles the mind.
With Wrath and Of Mindfulness and Sloth continues the superb musicianship, but takes a more reminiscent approach, with a nod to bands of the early 2000’s such is the melodic and clean vocal delivery along with the use of more synthesised alchemy. Let those heart-beaten breakdowns along with the very impressive vocal range transport you back two decades and reminisce of the good ole days!
The Metal in the North is alive and well. Survivalist are another band to add to the ever-growing Irish metal scene. I gave glowing references to a German band on The Smashing Skull Sessions recently, for their technical ability and their song writing, along with the production and artwork that came with it. Survivalist are on par with these guys and fly the flag for us, not only in Ireland and the UK, but further afield. I look forward to watching these guys grow and develop their sound and can only imagine the energy and power they conjure up playing live.