Farnham, United Kingdom-based slamcore/beatdown collective Bound In Fear is a five-piece outfit that's been coming up on the underground radar (of sorts) since their inception just a few short years ago. Following up on the band's 2017 debut EP titled Regicide, here is their latest, and perhaps greatest thus far, offering.
Not for nothing, there is an unending flood of these types of artists who play around with the slamcore or sludgewave style of heavy metal music, partly started by fellow Brit sludge band Black Tongue just over half a decade ago. Though be that as it may, Bound In Fear attempt to offer a different sort of energy in their performance as well as their recordings and songwriting, a factor that will be touched on briefly a bit later in this review. All you need to know for now is that The Hand Of Violence is a ten track ensemble of just around 45 minutes of some brutally fast and slow content, which is released now via Unique Leader Records.
Like I mentioned before, Bound In Fear offers up a distinct type of aura that consists of the playing style reminiscient of stuff like Immoralist with the mix of sludgewave and slamming beatdown material throughout (along with some of the vocals), with the recording and mixing of more hi-fi stuff in the genre as well. The moment I first listened to 'The Rot Within' as a single way before this album dropped I knew I was hooked. From the dark vibes to the Alex Teyen guest spot and the outro section it all felt too perfect, especially as a showcase song.
That aside, this new album shows off some rather stellar vocal work, which is helped by the high quality production. It really does feel as though there is a lot of merit and promise at the same time, since despite the obvious talents displayed by the vocalist early on, I still felt like there could've been greater energy, in a good way. As far as the songs go, the opening track 'Saint of Sorrow' feels like it drags on a bit too much with its atmospheric and drawn out intro that takes up most of the roughly three or so minute song's running time. Could've been cut in half, in my opinion. Then, after one of my personal faves 'The Rot Within', which I discussed a bit earlier, we get a couple of more shorter songs that, while not shabby, kind of blend in. 'Stigmata' is the stronger of the two though merely due to its melodic backdrop that leads into a slammy main riff and some interesting toilet vocals mixed in with hardcore vibes. There's a sort of blackened feel to it, as well, that ends off in a droning breakdown a la Enterprise Earth's 'Shallow Breath', The other song didn't have as much going for it to me, though.
As the album moves forward, 'Void of Life' feels like a pretty typical deathcore song from the early 2010s with its polyrhythmic breakdowns and high notes. The song that follows is more of an intermission than anything that has a brief breakdown section in its middle point. I don't want to spoil too much else here, as I strongly encourage going out (or staying inside, whichever you prefer) and listening to the album for yourself, but the next two tracks, especially the second single 'Hate Circuit', are pretty damn solid. 'Hate Circuit' is a very beatdown-esque song with some cool sounding double bass and a few hardcore sections mixed in with Signs of the Swarm vocals as well as a more sludgy, downtempo second half. The album is a clear mixed bag of downtempo, slamcore and beatdown elements, which helps more than it hurts the music in general. Also, while I enjoyed the songs overall, I thought some parts could've been cut out, especially in some earlier tracks. I also wish there were more songs like 'Hate Circuit' on here, too.
Despite its high level of ambition and tall order of a checklist to adhere to in pleasing fans of the downtempo, beatdown-hardcore and deathcore subgenres alike, I still think that The Hand Of Violence does a solid job of mixing up the three in more ways than one and exhibiting some stellar sound variety throughout its rather lengthy duration. There are a ton of sludgy breakdowns and slamming riffs to boot; in addition, the vocals go all out and really take the stage, which overshadows the once-in-a-while lacking instrumentals. Overall, this stands as a bit above average as far as this level of the core underworld goes...and I'm stoked to hear what these lads can come up with in the near future.
Fave Tracks: 'The Rot Within', 'Stigmata', 'Hate Circuit'
For Fans Of: Beyond Deviation, Black Tongue, CARBINE, xKINGx
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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