In a UK scene where game changing hardcore outfits seem to pop up almost every week, Palm Reader have revealed themselves to be a rather unique proposition. Although many display a nailed down understanding of punk rock fury and blood spitting metallic venom, this Woking quintet pedal a nigh on flawless blend of these extremities with a towering sense of dynamic know how which sees ‘Bad Weather’ one of the most striking debuts of recent memory.
From the introductory lumber and slow burning fervour of opening track, ‘Unwanted Guest (Grace pt1)’, the record positively lunges at us with wide eyed, jaw snapping intensity. ‘Smack Hound’ is all cut-throat The Dillinger Escape Plan-isms and rib caving groove, whereas ‘Seeing And Believing Are Two Different Things’ marries dazzling dexterity with an abrasive assault, impressing as much as it unsettles.
Indeed, perhaps what sees Palm Reader succeed so empathetically is how they are able to deliver these biting slabs of fearsome tumult with a certain southern swagger. One listen to the caustic bounce of ‘Echo’ will confirm the fun factor to be in full effect here.
It’s as ‘Bad Weather’ draws to its conclusion although that we get a wide screen view of Palm Reader‘s stunning hidden depths. After earlier hinting at a more eloquent edge with sullen instrumental ‘Bitter Hostess’ (Grace pt2)’, ‘Noble Host (Grace pt3)’ is a starkly melancholic nod to Converge at their most exquisite as haunting melodies and a soaring chorus refrain abound, revealing a stunning progressive flavour which displays the laudable breadth of talent ready to be employed here.
Breaking away from the often rigid confines of hardcore is a feat for any band, yet to embrace such variation as we see from ‘Bad Weather’ within a first full-length release is brave indeed. Although, when put across with a level of conviction and musicianship we would expect from an outfit double their tender age, Palm Reader entwine all that’s good about modern heavy music into thirty minutes of emotive, soul rendering numbers which may not re-invent the wheel, but see us too busy picking our jaws up from the floor to notice.
Written by Tony Bliss
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.