Call it scream, post-hardcore, melodic metalcore, “progressive hardcore,” or whatever you want; one thing that can certainly be said for Oslo, Norway’s Halcyon Days is that they are certainly good at what they do. Though I tend to prefer more aggressive forms of metal (particularly black metal and death metal), I’m also a sucker for a good melody, and there is PLENTY of melody to go around on Halcyon Days, the band’s latest release.
Disclaimer: if you don’t like the hardcore screams-meets-emo clean vocals of the mid 00’s post-hardcore/metalcore scene, this will NOT be for you. The guitars are equal parts melodic, mathy, and aggressive, coming off as a mix of Underoath, Pianos Become The Teeth, and Architects, with plenty of cool guitar effects for the gear nerds in the crowd. “Echoes” has some pretty cool guitar bits that show a little bit of a progressive rock flair, though the music still has “Warped Tour” written all over it (not necessarily a bad thing, mind you). Halcyon Days don’t really try to hide their influences in their songwriting, but aren’t exactly ripping any of them off either. The clean vocals grated on my nerves a bit, sounding a little whiny, but that kind of goes with territory in this genre, and the musicianship more than makes up for it. Still, I can’t help but think this album would have been better received had it come out in 2004 instead of 2016, when all the kids are into djent.
As I said before, this band might not be for fans of the more extreme side of heavy music, but they’re certainly good at what they do. I enjoyed a lot of the melodies and, being a bit of gear nerd myself, I enjoyed the different guitar effects. The mixing is immaculate, giving the guitars a pretty big volume boost, though not overpowering any of the other instruments. The riffs are definitely the high-point, and the man behind the mixing board certainly knew this.
If you like the melodic post-hardcore sounds of Underoath, you’ll probably enjoy this record.