Renounced: “Death to false metalcore”

Renounced: “Death to false metalcore”

By Glen Bushell

Oct 27, 2016 16:40

While the UK has always had a very fertile hardcore scene, no band has made a dent in it quite like Renounced. Eschewing the traditional standards that we tend to see, Renounced have looked to a sound that was forgotten in the eyes of many, and one which has been diluted by a run-of-the-mill bands. “Modern metalcore has been bastardised into garbage,” says vocalist, Daniel Gray. “We were influenced by bands like Martyr AD, Poison The Well and Turmoil etc. To Renounced, that’s what true metalcore is.”

The fusion of melody and aggression that Renounced possess is redolent of the classic wave of metalcore bands that rose to prominence in the late 90’s. As well as the bands Gray mentions above, Shai Hulud, SkyCameFalling, and even early Eighteen Visions took the basis of hardcore and transformed it into something new. Renounced are reinventing the sound once more, and their latest album, the stunning ‘Theories Of Despair’, is a landmark release for the genre. Despite the difference in sound to the majority of the scene, Renounced have been embraced with open arms.

“Renounced was forged in the depths of UK hardcore, and we have been very welcomed into the scene,” explains Gray. “We have been going to shows for years and listen to all genres of hardcore. Hardcore should be a community and we should all be open minded to all corners of the scene. Metalcore has to us always been apart of the hardcore scene, from Converge to Poison The Well to screamo to punk. As long as it’s played with passion and sincerity and as DIY as possible, it’s all good. We all share the same ideals.”

The band found themselves at the forefront of UK hardcore on the back of the release of their debut album, ‘The Melancholy We Ache’. It was a breath of fresh air, and an emotional tour de force that cuts like a dagger. In order to top such an acclaimed debut, the band approached recording it’s follow up differently.

“Firstly, we didn’t record it in our drummer’s bedroom,” laughs Gray, speaking of the recording process for ‘Theories Of Despair’. “We made the decision to get it recorded professionally by Ian Sadler at Emeline Studios. We wanted this LP to be a step up, and we feel that we have finally found a sound, which really encapsulates the essence of what Renounced is. We are very pleased with how it sounds.”

The end result of ‘Theories Of Despair’ is a far more aggressive record. Gray agrees with this statement, admitting they wanted to make this record “heavier and more technical,” and “explore the genre more to push our writing to the next level.” They have certainly achieved their modus operandi, as Renounced even outshine some of their peers with their jaw-dropping delivery on the album.

“We really feel we have created something that no other band is doing,” he continues, with confidence. As well he should, because the accomplished playing shines through, as the vision of Renounced has been fully realised. “‘The Melancholy We Ache’ was almost our homage to the 90’s and early 2000’s metallic hardcore sound, which we all grew up loving so much. With ‘Theories Of Despair’ we obviously still have our influences, however we wanted to define our own sound.”

With the sound of Renounced covered, Gray offers some insight into the emotional depth that has gone into ‘Theories Of Despair’. While it is at times ambiguous, lyrically, the themes explored are relatable, and come straight from Gray’s personal struggles. “I have, for the last ten years, suffered from heavy depression. It has affected all aspects of my life,” he explains. “The album title and theme of the lyrics are a reflection and a closure of mental turmoil. I speak of how I feel about the world around me, how relationships effect me, and my moral, ethical and social ideologies.

“Mental illness is very real, and without the outlet of this band I would have been very lost,” he continues. “However there is something a little different about this record compared to our last releases. It’s a time of change, a time to really dig deep and take control of your life before its too late. The last song on the record, ‘Inner reprisal’, sums this point up perfectly. “In this dissonance I refuse to fall, in this undertow I refuse to sink.” We have to find meaning in this existence, otherwise what’s the point.”

What Gray is trying to convey through Renounced is a topic that hits home with many. It has been one of the key components to the devote fan base they have accrued in their relatively short existence. “I have had people email and message me saying how much they relate to my lyrics, and that’s amazing that they have that connection to my art, and my outlet. We have received pictures of tattoos that people have got and that will continue always to blow my mind.

“All I want from writing music like this is for people to take something positive out of it, to release all their aggression at shows,” continues Gray, opening up about how he would like a listener to connect to Renounced. “To grab the microphone, stage dive and maybe not feel so alone in the darkest times. We must strive forward no matter how unhappy we feel. We must keep going. Hardcore and punk music is a platform to say what you want, it’s a platform of expression, and it’s my platform to healing.”

While there is no endgame in sight for Renounced at this point, the goal is to show ‘Theories Of Despair’ to as many people in as many countries as possible. “The band means the world to all of us, and we won’t be stopping anytime soon,” he concludes. “Forwards forever. Death to false metalcore.”

‘Theories Of Despair’ is available now via Carry The Weight Records.

Photo: Anna Swiechowsha