EP Review – Desolate by Earthbound

Melodic death metallers, Earthbound, are back with their brand new EP called Desolate which is due out on the 11th of October.

The first piece of new music from the Hitchin based 5 piece came back in September with the first single from this EP, called Of Suffering. Wow. It is something special and a song I personally felt was the best they had ever written. Like they had found their sound now and were owning it. Read our full review of that here.

Earthbound have been causing a stir throughout the metal fraternity for the past eighteen months. Possessing a reputation for delivering a sound that is a face-melting concoction of modern metal entwined with dynamic passages and alluring vocal lines, the band skilfully tip their hats to a host of varied influences, mapping from Iron Maiden and Trivium to Soilwork and Arch Enemy.

Earthbound are Tom Watson on vocals with Louie Penfold on guitar and backing vocals. Also on guitar is John Stacy with bass and keys with Chris Stroud and Richard Shearing on the drums.

Earthbound desolate

Desolate has 4 tracks on it in total and measures around 22 minutes in length. It opens with the powerful and excellent Of Suffering. A song I have spoken about a lot and, same as above, you can read a full review of that amazing song here. It is followed by a shorter, sub 3 minute song called Solitude. Of Suffering raised my expectations for Desolate. Solitude realised them. Wow. It is both a beautifully morose song but also one that shows immense musical intelligence and maturity. Predominantly gentle and melodic, there is a slight folkish/power vibe to the start with beautiful but sorrowful clean vocals over dreamy melodies. Layers of instrument join bit by bit. Machine gun drum blasts, a neck braking chugging riff but it is all handled gently and carefully culminating in a jaw dropping piece of music.

It pretty much leads directly into the 3rd song, Worlds Apart, which instantly steers us back towards the heavier sound. The intro has some serious riffage going on that gets your neck muscles working. I like the keys in the backing too. The vocals come in harsh and heavy with real depth and power sitting nicely over the quick pace of the drums and the solid bass foundation. The chorus has a couple clean lines while the music stays aggressive and heavy. There are so many great moments in the song.

Just when you think you have it figured, the riff switches or the drum tempo changes or the guitars add a little flare. It is unpredictable and exciting. There is a nice drop into clean melody with loads of echoing high pitched guitars and powerful vocals. It acts as a nice foil to the power metal instrumental that follows. The backing gives a cinematic edge to proceedings before building into a wicked layered instrumental before it drops back into the punchy riff and aggressive feel of the intro.

The final track, Remnants, ramps the heaviness up to maximum with speed riffing and vicious vocals. The drums are absolute fire but the whole start of this song just leaves you begging for a pit. The chorus is catchy, dropping into cleans and a more rhythmic riff. I love the harmonised growls and cleans used in the second chorus that ends with a drop into a dreamy section. Gentle melodies, soft drums and a little keys melody. It creates a powerful atmospheric sound. Again it acts as the perfect rest before the powerful guitar driven section that follows. It starts with a glorious melodic solo before powerfully roared vocals come in and the tempo starts increasing again until you find yourself headbanging along for a huge guitar driven song, and EP, outro.

Speaking about the new EP, the band state “For our second EP ‘Desolate’ we wanted to build upon the foundation laid by our debut EP ‘Endure.’ We all felt motivated to create a follow up that was bigger in every sense. We recorded the EP at Avenue Studios with Dan Kerr which provided the record with the level of production we believed the songs deserved. Musically the record follows on from ‘Endure,’ with the songs becoming more focused and lyrics building upon our underlying concept.”

Wow. Desolate is absolutely brilliant. One of the best things about being a site that focuses on the smaller, newer bands is when you see them realise their potential. Earthbound are exactly that. A band we watched years ago, followed since and always thought they had something special about them. Desolate is that moment where you see the culmination of their hard work. An EP of such quality that it stands up comfortably alongside the bigger releases of the year. It is an ambitious release. A cleverly composed, structured and mature EP. Musically captivating, vocally impressive – it is faultless and easily one of the best EPs that will be available this year. Don’t miss out.

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Desolate by Earthbound
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