Remember just a couple of years back when Heights, Your Demise, and Last Witness were some of the most hyped bands in the UK? In that time of late noughties to early teens, UK hardcore was pretty exciting, but even with hindsight it’s hard to tell if UKHC was on the brink of something huge, or if it was all media hype. It’s tricky to tell if bands crumbled under the pressure some publications put on them, or if it was the weak foundation of underground music these days, but either way there were (and still are) some solid records, decent bands, and hardworking people involved in that burst of hype, some of whom have banded together to form Counting Days.
Made up of ex-members of Heights, TRC, Prowler, Last Witness, Rough Hands and other UK talent, Counting Days certainly hold an impressive CV, but don’t really do the job well enough. Their debut album, ‘Liberated Sounds’, moves all the musicians into a much more metal sound compared to their previous works, though unfortunately more metal definitely doesn’t translate to more interesting.
The album starts with the rapid burst of chaos and an opening scream that anyone who’s into their 00s metalcore will recognise. In fact, most of the album is very familiar and recognisable. Opener, ‘Burned By Faith’, brings nothing new or particular to us, especially lyric wise. Thom Debaere‘s raspy screams of “Where are your Gods?” echo a thousand other blasphemous metalcore tracks, and single ‘Die Alone’ also doesn’t give us much to sink our teeth into; bland verses, lyrics that feel reminiscent of some of these guys’ former bands, and an orchestral break that feels ludicrously forced.
Rhythm wise it’s heavy and bouncy, but the bounce feels as if it’s in a room with the ceiling too low, and just doesn’t go off enough. The guitars have a Jim Root-meets-metalcore tone that chucks out some decent riffs, although many feel a bit cut and paste in nature.
The album does step up its game in places, offering a tasty breakdown every now and then, and the vocal change-ups do grab your attention whilst you’re dozing off to the verses. The most notable ‘mic grab’ is from At The Gates‘ frontman Tomas Lindberg on ‘Sands Of Time’. This, along with a nice touch of melo-death riffage, makes it the best song on the record.
As musicians with their roots in a scene that got a lot of people talking, and a lot of people into heavy British music, Counting Days owed the UK music scene nothing. Unfortunately, nothing is pretty much what ‘Liberated Sounds’ has given us.
Written by Jack King (@Jackingy)