When I received the new Bermuda album for review, I thought that I was about to listen to the deathcore band from Australia that was formerly known as Knife To A Gunfight. The album Isolationist(s) is in fact deathcore, so I stayed with this perception for the first few spins, but I did note the change in style from previous efforts. It wasn’t until I started digging up information about this album that I realized that Bermuda is apparently a very popular band name. There is a Japanese hardcore band, a pop band from Iceland, the aforementioned Australian act, and then there’s the Bermuda who is the subject of this review – a break-out deathcore act from Oxnard, California.
Bermuda is a five piece mosh monster, and they just released their debut EP Isolationist(s) on Mediaskare Records. Their brand of deathcore is very slow, discordant, and brutal. It is extremely breakdown oriented, so I can only imagine that the dance floor at a live show is something to be wary of. One thing that revealed itself as a glaring detractor almost immediately is the band’s lack of groove. This generally isn’t as much of a problem with faster or more melodic acts, but considering this band is pretty much a marriage of Meshuggah and deathcore, I feel that they are heavily reliant on groove to keep the listener’s attention. Its absence here is all-too apparent, and there are only a few moments that I felt were really head-bob inducing.
The guitars are generally slow and always atonal. The riffage of this album is almost entirely comprised of breakdowns, but this style suits the band well. The drums are slow yet technical, and they stand out with their crisp and punchy tone. As before, my complaint is that the writing is not particularly catchy, and this is where the band really suffers. I found myself interested for only short spurts all too often, and only a few songs managed to be really memorable. The pinnacle of this album, by far, is “The Human Herd”. This had the most memorable chugging and chorus, and it stands as proof that these guys really have what it takes.
The highlights of Isolationists(s) are the vocals and the lyrics. Corey Bennett is the perfect front man for Bermuda, as he provides some of the most harrowing growls I have heard in the deathcore genre. His delivery is such that a seasoned metal head should have no problems discerning the words, which is also great, seeing as his writing his top-notch. For example, I have included the lyrics to my favorite song, “The Human Herd”, in its entirety:
Wake from the dream for it’s turned into nightmares
Wake when you realize the sheep you’ve been counting are your closest friends
Live life without a care, your ambitions go nowhere
Simply live out your days moving from field to field
When will the life you lead ever mean something?
Only when you see that shelter you’re holding is a killing floor
Shepherds led you astray, they led you here to die
The human herd, thinned, to a bare minimum
In my opinion, that’s perfection.
In closing, Bermuda is a band to watch out for. Isolationist(s) is not the best album out there, due to the fact that the writing tends to get a little boring after a while, but it’s a diamond in the rough nonetheless because of the potential that shines through. I have no doubt that if these guys can mature a bit in their style, they will be number one in the genre, and I’m giving them bonus points for the wow factor alone. I sincerely can’t wait to hear what they put out next, because they are poised to become phenomenal.
02. Bounce (Hollow Victories)
05. Given Unto A Flood
06. The Human Herd
07. Beggar, The Bitter Reign