Comprised solely of music students, Winchester are an fresh-faced alternative rock trio who are diving straight into the scene with their debut, ‘Life Begins At These Dead Ends’. The nine-tracks that it encompasses blends catchy melodies, music technicalities, and unclean vocals normally associated with progressive metal.
Things kick off with the lead single ‘Life Begins’ wherein the band presents their sound at its most fluidly dynamic, embedding some Arcane Roots influence. Starting with the rhythm guitar playing barre chords and a mellifluous vocal performance from frontman Adam Catalan, the track does well to create a calming ambience.
Still retaining the calming feel of the verses, the chorus kicks in with anthemic, distorted guitars quickly taking the forefront, and Catalan comfortably going into the higher registers of his vocal range. It’s at the tracks bridge when heavier influences begin to seep through in the form of explosive unclean vocals and Scott Mahoney‘s ear catching riffs, which successfully capture the dissonance.
Whilst tracks like ‘At These’ and ‘Set Me Apart’ do well in respectively showcasing Catalan and Mahoney‘s bass and guitar proficiency, they, like a number of tracks on this album, seem to follow the same structure and tone as each other. This can often make the songwriting feel formulaic and make the tracks feel less memorable as a result.
‘Life Begins At These Dead Ends’ is an album packed with an abundance of potential. Whilst there is space for improvement for the three-piece, the gut-wrenching riffs, stellar musicianship, and Catalan‘s infectiously catchy vocal melodies help this album strike the perfect middle ground between radio-friendly alternative rock and post-hardcore, creating a unique sound and exciting prospects for the newcomers.