New Waters – ‘Lions’

By James Brown

Here in Britain we’ve such a strong and healthy hardcore scene that we’re sometimes blind to the growing scenes on the continent. France, Italy and Germany have a fine tradition of producing wonderful screamo acts, and even tiny little Belgium has produced gems such as Rise And Fall and Oathbreaker.

Then there’s Finland, usually thought of as pretty dormant musically. You could probably only think of a handful of bands – HIM, Children Of Bodom and the costumed blokes that won the Eurovision Song Contest. And now they have given us New Waters, a five-piece from the largest city in central Finland, Jyväskylä.

From the moment you press play on this six-tracker, it’s clear that New Waters love Converge. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Converge jointly lead my own all-time favourite band (along with Radiohead, which means I’m obviously the absolute life and soul of every party). Converge have made some of the most brilliant records hardcore has ever seen, and there’s no shame in wanting to attempt to emulate their sound.

To be fair to them, New Waters do an adept job. They’ve got the anguished vocals, the intense and dynamic instrumentation and the gargantuan, labyrinthine riffage down to a T.  Many times at hardcore shows I’ve turned around to a mate and sarcastically said “Cuh, just another Converge cover band” for incorporating one or more elements of the Bay Staters into their sound. But these guys actually sound virtually inseparable from Jacob Bannon and co.

Maybe I’m not being completely fair to them – they do boast other components in their sonic arsenal. First track “Empty Grave” has a dark metallic crunch akin to the aforementioned Rise And Fall, and “Man And The World” has a “crust punk” vibe similar to the excellent Trap Them. On the other hand, this all goes back to the same old moves already perfected on every 21st century Converge record.

Third track “Wave” is probably the most interesting of the lot, with a mid-section sounding a little like “Versions”-era Poison The Well/venerated Welshmen Bastions. but otherwise, your time would be far better spent giving “Axe To Fall” another listen.

This isn’t terrible by any means, but it’s like watching Arsenal when you could be watching Barcelona, watching the Gus Van Sant version of Psycho rather than the Hitchcock original, or eating mutton (or horsemeat, LOL TOPICAL) rather than having prime ribeye steak – why bother with the imitators when you can listen to the masters?

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