There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. So the old saying goes. It’s a theory that every adolescent male has at some point put to the test, locked in his bathroom with a box of tissues for weeks on end, and one that also seems to have intrigued Amongst Carrion too. These Welsh boys play a straight up brand of metalcore, desolate of surprises or flares of innovation. “But metalcore isn’t a good thing,” many of you will no doubt be countering. Well, I would argue that it can be. As a genre it is typically full of energy and aggression, bereft of true musical genius though it may be, and it is also one of the areas of metal where emotional lyrics are not only accepted, but encouraged, and that can be no bad thing.
This quintet are doing nothing to set themselves aside from the their peers and dutifully set about accomplishing rule number one in the Metalcore Album Handbook: begin your record with a slightly melodic, vaguely climatic, utterly fucking pointless track and name it ‘Intro’. This is like using foreplay as a prelude to really angry make up sex; the whole point in angry make up sex is that it’s supposed to be spontaneous and take you by surprise. That’s part of what makes it so good! Indulging in foreplay just prolongs the moment and makes it all a bit anti-climatic. Don’t get me wrong – foreplay has its place, just not here.
When first track proper, ‘Painted Red’, finally roars into action we’re greeted with the slightly cringe-worthy, blame-displacing lyrics, “You’re the fucking reason I feel this way” but if this is what it takes for vocalist Josh ‘AJ’ Lewis to conjure his demonic anguished screams, it’s surely a small price to pay, for he has a great voice. His range is used to full effect, the vocals making (for example) the breakdown in ‘Shadows Over Me’ sound even heavier as they grind along the bottom of his register.
That’s right. Breakdowns. There are tapped intros too, choruses underpinned by fairly simplistic chord progressions, frantic blast beats and a good dose of swearing chucked in for good measure. Make no mistake – this is Metalcore by Numbers: The Beginner’s Edition. This is also Amongst Carrion‘s greatest strength. Instead of trying to introduce something new to a saturated scene, it allows them to focus on writing great songs. If you can’t do something new; do something better.
The five songs (‘Intro’ excluded) that make up We That Should Not Be are all very direct. There is not a plethora of ideas floating around each composition, fighting for attention, but rather a unified concept that works to capture the listener’s attention. Six stringer Dan Coppuck has a knack for writing expressive riffs that groove and seethe with aggression, but limited exploration of his fretboard along with an abundance of chugging ultimately consigns the guitars to playing second fiddle to the vocals. The drumming is about as inventive as the scope of the genre allows for and almost strays into alarming territory on the unforgivably heavy ‘The Fear In Her Eyes’, which is the album highlight.
With We That Should Not Be Amongst Carrion have clearly learnt that yes, you can have too much of a good thing. But, do it sparingly and, above all, do it exceptionally well and it can prove to be very good fun indeed. Something to think about for the adolescent male readers.
Amongst Carrion’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmongstCarrion