Without a moment of hesitation, it hits me. I feel kind of like a nail, unsuspecting of the blow which will rain down upon my head. But once it hits, I find myself in a very cozy little place. A little dark, a little claustrophobic at times, but comfortable. I wouldn’t mind staying for a while. That’s my first impression of The Charm The Fury’s debut full length A Shade Of My Former Self, which is being released Sept. 17 here in the U.S.A.
The Charm The Fury is a relatively new entity from The Netherlands, preparing to release its vision of metalcore to the masses. Fronted by female screamer, Caroline Westendorp, we are presented with songs that are all at once heavy, melodic, energetic, thoughtful, and always catchy. Some might be skeptical of the abilities of a female vocalist to convey screams with as much harshness and brutality as a male vocalist might, and these people have obviously not heard bands like IWRESTLEDABEARONCE. Caroline’s presentation is as visceral and powerful as any harsh vocalist I’ve come across, while her melodic singing is soothing to these ears. Also, unlike many screamers, I have little trouble understanding most of the lyrics, which is always a plus.
Recently I saw a discussion of how sometimes female fronted bands tend to be characterized as the frontwoman’s band composed of faceless background musicians. That is not at all the case here. Mathijs Parent and Rolf Perdok provide dual guitar duties, absolutely killing it with down-tuned madness. Staccato starts and stops at the drop of a dime, coupled with beautiful rhythm and melody overtones, such as during the bridge of “Deliverance”, make these two a compelling combo. The rhythm section of bassist Lucas Arnoldussen and drummer Mathijs Tieken are no less impressive. Lucas doesn’t seem to overplay things, mostly preferring the stay in the pocket, but has no trouble matching the speedy rhythms that Mathijs P. and Rolf have set up. I also appreciate Mathijs T.’s approach here, bringing that proverbial hammer I mentioned earlier down to the floorboard and keeping the band nailed in and tight. Like many other metalcore drummers, I find him fascinating to listen to, adding dynamics to the music with subtle fills. He’s able to make as strong of a foundation as many other drummers who have kits twice his size. And while I have no idea who played the keys for “Colorblind”, bravo. Intricate, interesting, and beautiful.
The Charm The Fury quickly impressed me not only with well written songs, but with quality production. For a debut release, the caliber of this recording amazes me. And while nothing on this release will change the face of heavy metal music, or metalcore for that matter, there is nothing wrong with that. The songs are excellently crafted and do exactly as metal is designed to do, make you commence with rocking – and a little bit of self-analysis. A personal favorite of mine off the record is “The Enemy”, which features Jamie Graham of Heart of a Coward (formerly of Sylosis). Breakneck speed riffs, an aggressive back and forth between Caroline and Jamie, and a HUGE chorus that succinctly sums up the sentiment that some people just need to get the hell out of your life. A Shade Of My Former Self is like the last nail in the coffin, ready to bury the old and begin anew. This is a magnificent start for The Charm The Fury, and I’d recommend everyone else take notice.
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