The lines between metal and hardcore have blurred intensely as time has gone on, with the ‘metalcore’ sub-genre tag encompassing everything from the saccharine tones of The Amity Affliction to the crushing titans like Architects.
However, with debut record, ‘The Onset Of Eternal Darkness’, British outfit Climate Of Fear take that broadness and stretch it out even further to create something that is almost uncategorisable in nature, yet hugely encompassing in sound.
The gentle piano-led introduction of ‘Rapture’ lulls us into a false sense of security as a pair of weighty guitars soon pierce the atmosphere courtesy of Sam Ellis Thompson and Alfie Armour. A groove-laden riff then introduces a speedy drum assault which dials up the atmosphere and compliments the throaty vocals of Paul Williams (ex-Desolated) perfectly.
Even more complex drumming can be found on ‘The Cult Of Retribution’, with a relentless cacophony of technicality coming from George Bigneil‘s kit backed up by sizably chunky guitars, while the intensity of Williams‘ vocals heightens to death metal levels on ‘Shadow & Flame’ until a gentle orchestral segment closes the track.
The melody and groove running all the way through this record is very reminiscent of Machine Head in their prime, but there are also acceptable nods towards more death metal influenced groove metal acts such as Lamb Of God, Malefice, and At The Gates, all of which are decent reference points. A clear example of this comes in the form of the contrasting melodies and sickening blast beats found on both ‘Centuries Of Torment’ and ‘Storming The Heavens’; the dynamics that are on show here are mightily impressive, and both tracks take you on an interesting journey while keeping you engaged throughout.
The band do mix it up somewhat, with interesting instrumental ‘De Conflictu Noctis Aeternae Obruat’ creating a welcome break of pace before ‘Slaves Of Capital’‘s catchy “Wake the fuck up” vocal refrain kicks in, and the heavy chanting style of Sepultura-esque ‘From Enslavement To Extinction’ brings the album back full circle.
The brutal power of Climate Of Fear is certainly nothing to be messed around with, and if you’re looking for an easy listen then ‘The Onset Of Eternal Darkness’ may be not be for you. However, look through the complex layers and you’ll find a band and a piece of art that’s thoroughly engaging, meticulously heavy, and a real groove-fest to boot, which for a debut record is hugely impressive.
After getting into alternative music during the mid 90s with the rise of nu-metal and pop-punk, I’ve gradually spread my interests far and wide and have a real love for metalcore, prog metal and tech metal. Amongst other things, I am a husband, father of two amazing kids, heavy metal DJ, and video game/book/nerd enthusiast!