Two years after their last record, ‘Regression | Progression’, hardcore quartet In Search Of Solace have returned with ‘Enslaved To Tragedy’.
Enlisting a producer for the first time in their career, and working an intense routine to develop the record, In Search Of Solace have crafted nine songs that shun the conventions of modern hardcore.
Opening the record with the defiant ‘Culture Shock, clean and delay heavy finger-picking snake around Jonny LaDuke‘s raw screams. Taking cues from Converge and Botch alike, pumping distortion and sprawling melodies dominate the unhinged back and forth between LaDuke and guitarist/vocalist Nick Pocock to create an uncompromising start.
Expanding on this theme, ‘Losing Touch’ incorporates space and the stop-start drum patterns of Derek Ludgate to add a melodic variation of the group’s blueprint. Whereas ‘Losing Touch’ leans on Pocock‘s performance, ‘Deathwish’ relies on LaDuke‘s intense screaming. Barrelling at a rapid pace, the track proves that In Search Of Solace can hold their own.
Whilst ‘Force Fed’ adds more thrash influences to their brand of hardcore, ‘Survive’ delivers a wide range of flavours, from shoe-gaze melodies and percussive vocals from LaDuke to create an amalgamation of what hardcore has to offer. Whilst the track dips in and out of various styles, it’s held together by the distinct guitar tone and coherent production.
As the record continues through dense distortion and throat shredding screams, when ‘Silent Voices’ appears, the weaving guitar melodies and soaring vocals of Pocock add a welcome change to the soundscape. Complete with juddering guitars and pounding drum fills, the track not only delivers a bounce, but also delves into experimental areas as it nears its conclusion.
Ending the record with the grinding ‘Path To Destruction’, the group uses the opportunity to showcase their melodic brand of hardcore, complete with thrash influences thrown in for good measure. Delivering stomping riffs and bright choruses, the track refines the dynamic push and pull of the group.
On first listen, ‘Enslaved To Tragedy’ sits unassumedly, but as it progresses, nuanced melodies and biting fury worm their way through. Whilst In Search Of Solace have been refining their blend of atmosphere and punishing hardcore for half a decade, stronger structures and the incorporation of a producer has elevated the group.