Milton Keynes mob Heart Of A Coward have produced a stunning record in ‘Severance’. Being only their second album, their sound is honed and defined in a way that few others manage. They’ve built a sturdy, water-tight bridge between Djent and Death Metal, and it is a pleasure to walk across.
Flying in with ‘Monstro’, the rhythmic pattern is every bit Metalcore, while the off-time emphasise notes and plucky guitar tone allow them to mingle among the Djentlemen. As an opening track, it outlays their ability to weave in-and-out of the technically mind-blowing and the brutally bone-crushing, and it just gets better and better as it goes on. Not every track is a hybrid, though, with ‘Nauseam’ and ‘Deadweight’ holding different advantages. The former is technically driven and layered thick with groove, while the latter is a straight-up onslaught.
A large proportion of praise must go to Vocalist Jamie Graham. Guitars can only do so much, so without his ability to adapt from deep grows to soaring cleans, subtle changes in style would dissolve and go unnoticed. The prime example is on ‘Mirrors’, where a gigantic, Killswitch Engage-esque chorus is sandwiched delicately between complex sections and then finished off with a blistering breakdown.
Heart Of A Coward are still camped in the underground scene, but they will be ones to watch in 2014. Fans of Meshuggah or Whitechapel will find unity within Severance, and those that already enjoy both should instantly welcome them. Their style is by no means revolutionary – they have grabbed two contrasting points on the Metal spectrum and pulled them a little closer together, but it is the subtlety in the patchwork that is the key here.
Reviewer: Matt Borucki