It’s always great to see a band step its game up for their second album. And that is exactly what Australian band A BREACH OF SILENCE has done with its new full-length The Darkest Road, out October 7 via Eclipse Records. The infusion of power metal that was there for the debut album Dead or Alive has been ramped up a few notches without forgetting to be brutalizing in all the right places. Bassist/vocalist Blair Layt and harsh vocalist Rhys Flannery once again are the perfect complements to one another, a musical yin and yang if you will. And the riffs are out in full force, courtesy of guitarists Mat Cosgrove and Kerrod Dabelstein. Drummer Andrew Cotterell also seems to have gotten better, stronger, and faster, if that’s possible. The whole band has, really, like some heavy metal Six Million Dollar Man times five!
The first tracks that grabbed me by the throat were “Lost At Sea” and “This Is the End” because the melodies are damn near perfect. The former has a gruff, angry riff and the latter is not only one of the most unique songs on the record but that I’ve heard this year from anyone. Opener “T.P.N.E” goes straight for the jugular and demands that you sit up and fucking listen. Title track “The Darkest Road” has a big hook to go with the angry rhythms and “Vultures” is one that will have you donning war paint and beating your chest in no time at all. The use of synth also adds something to “Silhouette” and the song has a bit of a BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE feel to it, which is great because I love that band, too.
There’s a spacey, breathy quality at the beginning of “Hang ‘Em High” that quickly falls victim to a blitz attack by the guys, Layt’s voice rising above the fray. This was another favorite from the get-go. “Immortal” comes from a dark and moody place, rising from a subterranean tunnel ready to attack the surface-dwellers with machine-gun riffing while managing to sound uplifting on the chorus. If that sounds crazy that’s because it is, but it works! Another winner is “Dead and Destroyed” a song that simply must be on playlists for the gym, running, or breaking shit. I do NOT recommend playing it while driving, however, as the temptation to mow people down may be too strong. And that’s too much paperwork, really.
I wasn’t wild about “Krazy Bitch” and not just because of that silly title. It was just a one-note pony that I couldn’t get into. On an album with 14 songs, that is bound to happen. On the plus side, I loved “In Reality We Trust”. This is another track that is all power and aggression, something these guys excel at. And the vocals and hooks absolutely shine on “Hannibal”, one that must be played live on all tours from here on out. All in all The Darkest Road is a terrific album that actually leaves their debut in the dust and is definitely one of the best metalcore releases I have heard in a looooong time. A BREACH OF SILENCE does it again. Sophomore slump? Oh, I don’t THINK SO!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Hannibal”, “Hang ‘Em High”, “Lost At Sea”, “This Is the End”, “Dead and Destroyed”, “Vultures”, “Silhouette”