Following up from the 2017’s ‘Mad Season’, Canadian mob Obey The Brave have returned with their fourth record, ‘Balance’.
Blending hardcore, wide choruses, and metalcore into a streamlined collection of tracks, this record is the group’s most accessible to date, yet it could may well be their most effective.
Setting the scene from the get go, ‘No Apologies’ ushers in a catchy chorus before launching into juddering riffs and stamping drums. Employing growls, screams, and clean choruses with conviction, the snappy lyrics stand above the churning guitars and thunderous breakdowns.
Not wasting time, ‘Die Young’ jumps into the more melodic template, teetering between bursts of blast beats led gang vocals and pop-punk style octave chords. Maintaining a hardcore infused energy throughout and a layer of grit on top of the melodic pauses, the track refuses to sit in the background.
With a fitting title, ‘Balance’ continues in the vein of hooks and melody whilst retaining a defiant bite. ‘Reality Check’ blends doom chords, galloping guitars, and barked vocals to create a mosh pit-friendly burst of energy. The same can also be said for ‘Smoke Signals’, a track that bounces through hardcore chords, cycling lead harmonies, and a staccato led groove whilst delivering a wide chorus.
Keeping a strong pulse throughout, the group doesn’t rely on soundscapes or slow building tracks to break up the hardcore assault. Instead, they employ tight structures, moving dynamics, and solid choruses that demand repeat listens, as shown on single ‘Cold Summer’.
A testament to the catchiness of the record, ‘Calm Le Jeu’ boasts a sing-along chorus, delivered in Quebecois nonetheless. Going at full speed, the track doesn’t let up for a second, employing a flurry of swing grooves, furious screams, and snapped drums to maximum effect.
Playing with structure, ‘Seeing Red’ moves between breakdowns, choruses, and anthemic bridges at ease. Showing how effective they have become at delivering solid hooks and crushing riffs in tandem, Obey The Brave end their record in a streamlined fashion. With the title-track clocking in at less than two minutes, it covers breakneck drums, thrash guitars, clean vocals, and furious fills before abruptly ending.
Whilst ‘Balance’ doesn’t re-invent the wheel, it’s a passionate and memorable addition to Obey The Brave‘s building back-catalogue.