To Kill Achilles – ‘Something To Remember Me By’

By Dave Stewart

Dundee’s To Kill Achilles have never been afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and they’re about to make that clearer than ever with new record ‘Something To Remember Me By’

A concept record of sorts, ’Something To Remember Me By’ is incredibly honest and poignant, striking a chord with the world we live in and the times we’re enduring. Borne from personal experiences and detailing the path that could’ve been, it highlights the importance of connection and conversation when support networks and coping mechanisms aren’t as simple to utilise as they once were.

“This record is the story of a man who wakes up on his twenty-fifth birthday and the events that happen throughout the course of a year that lead him to take his own life, exactly one year on to the date,” the band explain. “Each song represents a month in his life (with the exception of two moments of reflection). In each of the songs we tell a story that a member of the band has been through over the last few years. Every song is real and is a portrayal of how we felt in that moment.”

Pouring catharsis into their art, bursts of pain and hardship make themselves known right from the very beginning. Kicking off the record with the volatile and metallic ‘fourpercent’, thick guitars and raw discords collide as the band introduces the internal torment of their central character. The track that sounds the closest to their previous metalcore tone, this is a fitting introduction to the record as well as a bookend to everything that preceded it. You’d better believe that the intensity contained within has only just began to show its face.

The thing that ‘Something To Remember Me By’ does really well is turning the emotional content into something that feels real, often using the lyrical direction as a guide for the music’s harshness. The punky ’21:36’ is a prime example, marrying soul-stirring thoughts of death with the furious riff at its centre that acts as prime pit material. ’In Vain’ is a soaring anthem with poetic post-hardcore delivery, its candid self-doubting lyrics draped over a beautiful but stormy landscape. ‘Oh God, I’ve Never Felt This Low’ follows a similar formula, softening the punch with stripped back verses and intricate lead guitar layers to allow waves of emotion to crash through with every dynamic explosion.

The entire record is packed with highs and lows, narrating every step of their characters journey with vivid, calculated flair. The crushing fervent and mercurial nature of ‘When You Live With Ghosts, You Don’t See The Dead’, the dark and gradual escalating distress of ‘Venom’, the pained and heartbreaking cries spilling out of the epic ‘Beautiful Mourning’, the sharp and depreciative weight within ‘Luna Et Altum’ – it plays out like the soundtrack to a novel and you’ll be hanging onto every word.

The whole record ties together well, with some standout moments that will have you reliving specific parts of the story. One of them is the unforgiving yet tender battles with day to day life in ‘There’s No Right Way To Say This’, one of the finest tracks in the band’s catalogue to date. The ever-so relatable struggles with self-worth, the drain of social media, the desperation in needing help when it isn’t immediately available, all voiced over music that matches and enhances the pain.

Another is the album’s closing number and title track, the solemn and understated final chapter of the tale. Ending the record in the exact opposite way to how it began with an acoustic reverb soaked guitar and distant screams, it communicates the devastating moments of their character reflecting on his life. Feeling like there’s nothing left but the end, they convince themselves that what lies beyond is better than what stands before them. A harrowing and desolate finale to an incredibly moving and relevant record, arriving in a time when mental health and reaching out is more important than ever.

DAVE STEWART

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