Degrader

From The Inside Out

2017
review published: 10/25/2017

5.5





Formed roughly four years ago, Degrader is a Massachusetts metalcore band and From The Inside Out is their sophomore release, a five-song EP heavy on aggression, less so on originality.

When opening track "Gaia" kicks in, listeners are greeted with the thick bellows of frontman Liam Geary. Perhaps the most consistent component of the record, Geary's vocals anchor the entire affair with an endless supply of venom and vitriol. (Higher-pitched screams are also regularly provided by bass player Ryan St. Amand.) With the exception of its first thirty seconds, "Gaia" resides somewhere on the metal/hardcore spectrum between Haymaker-era Throwdown and Kublai Khan. Meaty metalcore grooves give way to a simplistic, beatdown conclusion. The song is heavy, but not particularly compelling.

Initially, second track "Heresy" sounds like a completely different band, with its bouncy electronicore, nu-metalcore opening verse. While various electronic elements persist, the song quickly shifts to more traditional metalcore territory. A bass-heavy groove takes over briefly before there's a reprise of sorts to the first verse. The composition ends with yet another beatdown clinic.

"Vendetta" isn't vastly different from its preceding tracks, though a catchy chorus courtesy of Fit For A King frontman Ryan "Tuck" O'Leary provides a nice change of pace. Predictably, Degrader reverts to slow hardcore grooves to close out the track. Fans of mosh will probably resent the clean chorus, while those who crave melody with their metal will find the song's second half tedious.

Next up is "Gaslighter," essentially three minutes of Kublai Khan-inspired metalcore. Experiencing this live (in the pit) might be invigorating, but there's really nothing here that merits repeated listens or significant discourse.

Closing track "Phantom Pain" is less meathead and more nuance. Yes, the song starts out in hardcore fashion, but it's quickly spelled by a mellower, melodic rock section with clean vocals. The heavy stuff soon kicks back in but subtle elements of melody lurk effectively in the background, giving the metalcore an added dimension sorely lacking for most of the record. Perhaps this is an approach worthy of investigation for Degrader moving forward

Sonically, everything about this EP sounds completely professional and competent. The musicianship is tight and the production is slick.

Bottom Line: For the most part, Degrader play simplistic metalcore with powerful vocals and plenty of mosh parts. While that formula will suffice for some, those in search of music that's a bit more engaging might want to look elsewhere.


Track Listing: 01. Gaia 02. Heresy 03. Vendetta 04. Gaslighter 05. Phantom Pain