Black Coast – ‘BLACK COAST’

By Ian Kenworthy

You might not have heard of Black Coast – yet – but they’ve been tearing up the underground metal scene with their incendiary live shows. They haven’t quite broken out, but that’s about to change. Their debut album ‘Outworld’ dropped in 2021 and it set the stage, but they’re ready to take things to the next level. They’re making a bold statement of who they are and why you should listen. It arrives in the shape of a self-titled EP. Get excited.

Five tracks. Five chances to show what they’ve got. In many ways it’s a continuation of their sound; a mix of raw metalcore and nu-metal that’s both varied and crushingly urgent. Put simply, this is the sound of the band shifting up a gear. It’s easily their strongest release.

‘Real (Are You Listening?)’ opens with a whorl of guitars and then the riff hits like a tidal wave. The whole thing feels massive, even the unexpectedly atmospheric interlude, and it drags you along like a riptide. Of course, the opening vocals are blatantly ripped off of Linkin Park’s ‘Faint’ but that isn’t a bad thing (Covering ‘A Place For My Head’ in 2020 is the dead giveaway) because the band are on top form. You can also bet the band have been listening to Korn’s ‘Follow The Leader’ because although the guitar tag-team of Scott Pinnington and Joe Mayer trade raw, thrilling riffs they also love to play with effects pedals in a very similar way. This means wobbling sounds and lead guitar swells permeate the tracks and thread between the aggressive riffing, so despite not having an album’s breadth they manage to explore a wealth of sounds, making for a thrilling, focused and remarkably varied package.

The EP was produced, recorded and mixed by Sam Bloor and mastered by Grant Berry, clearly a pair who know what they’re doing. They take the band’s established sound and present it in a way that’s heavier and more immersive with a ruthless edge. Vocalist Charlie Hewitt isn’t shy of dredging up the roughest parts of his life either, meaning his lyrics touch on unpleasant subject matter with a side order of self-loathing. This makes for a dark, often angst-ridden performance and some terrifyingly powerful screams. On their debut record he embraced a deceptively soft Deftones-equse singing style and it’s the same here, especially on ‘Chains’ where the explosive opening retreats into a druggy haze. It makes a great companion piece to ‘Sex’ which is a sultry mix of dirty harmonics driven by Jack Beardsall’s filthy bass. Then leading single ‘Mercy’ arrives – Everything works and its gravity enhances the songs around it, meaning that while ‘No One’ doesn’t punch as hard it can bask in the grandeur of pulsing riffs and wild whammy-pedal guitar solos without losing its sense of power.

Occasionally their influences weigh a little too heavily, but that doesn’t diminish what is a hard-hitting and exciting progression. Full of powerful songs, rich sounds and slick riffs ‘Black Coast’ is a strong statement. Don’t miss it.

IAN KENWORTHY

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