Parting Gift – ‘Ensom’

By Gem Rogers

It’s been just over two years since Manchester four-piece Parting Gift slipped their way into the music world’s consciousness as something of an enigma with debut single ‘Be Still’. With a steady trickle of releases and plenty of touring since then, 2019 is already proving to be the most exciting year yet for the young band. Signing to Fearless Records in February was only the start as they gear up for an appearance at Download Festival, tours with Blood Youth and Dream State, and the release of debut EP ‘Ensom’.

From the outset, ‘Ensom’ feels like an entirely different beast to their earlier post-hardcore singles. For being only five songs, there’s a whole lot to take in here as ‘Pale’ kicks in with blast beats and a hugely atmospheric vibe; there’s an almost fuzzy sound that takes a moment to adjust to, but that sets up the remaining four tracks perfectly.

This is the kind of music that is almost impossible to define, in exactly the right kind of way. Layers of ambient sounds, driving drum beats and post-hardcore riffs provide the backdrop to Zac Vernon’s raw and passionate vocals – there’s something about this combination of styles that just shouldn’t work, yet does so, and in a fascinatingly addictive way. Although not overtly bearing similarities to the black metal that inspired Vernon’s early years, latest single ‘Without Sin’ and title track ‘Ensom’ are all-enveloping in their darkness, channelling the mood and distortion of the genre.

‘Ensom’ is a truly immersive, haunting collection of songs, showing spectacular maturity and a beautifully fresh approach to alternative rock. This isn’t about big hooks and instant gratification – though there is still some of that to be found. The real reward from this EP comes with time; curiosity on first listen turning to deep-rooted affection as the many layers reveal themselves and absorb into the soul. Parting Gift are ready to take listeners on a whole new ride – and we recommend jumping on board.

GEM ROGERS

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