WHITEFALL – ORIGINS
Whitefall are a young band, but one that has already made a name for themselves. Based out of Canberra, their progressive meets djent and metalcore sound is one that has its roots in legendary Australian bands such as Parkway Drive, Northlane and In Hearts Wake, as well as international prog legends such as TesseracT. However, with their debut EP, Origins, they prove that they are much more than the sum of their inspirations.
Serenity, the opening track uses the billowing orchestration and synthesisers to welcome in a breathtakingly large sonic landscape against which the savageness of their tight rhythm section is set free; yet the coarseness of the guitar and drum work is complemented rather than contrasted by the beautiful aural backdrop. However, this is quickly shattered by the second piece, Archetype, which slices through with crunching guitars and thunderous drumming. The track swaggers along, drawing on exotic scales and chords that are contrasted by the trademark low-end guitar assault of Aussie metal.
Causality is the third track up, and the high intensity guitar work and technical drumming instantly throws back to djent and progressive heroes, TesseracT. However, this isn’t without reason as Daniel Tompkins, the lead singer of the aforementioned band, joins the Canberrans on this track with his familiarly beautiful clean vocals. Causality stands out on this record as the pinnacle of what this band can achieve, and Origins is not a one-hit EP by any means. The EP is an ambitious and well-executed body of music as a whole, yet it is especially on Causality that Whitefall’s crunching lows and wailing highs unite to form harmonies and chords that pull the listener’s ear into the music before pummelling them with the band’s well refined technique.
Dreamweaver, the EP’s fourth track, snaps the listener out of the blissful state from the last album with some truly brutal riffage. The bass, drums and guitar all unite in an off-time assault that slams and crashes through three minutes of pure hardcore djent, and Connor Mairs’ vocals get the chance on this track to run riot, possibly outsinging the band for the first time on the EP. Not that the vocals aren’t well executed throughout Origins; however it is here that Connor’s intense growls are right in their element.
The last track, Flares, draws on a Parkway Drive-esque sound through the harmonies between the high and low guitars and the anthemic chord progression whilst maintaining Whitefall’s own trademark sound to close the album with the same intensity and passion that it opened with. Especially effective is the crackling of fire that reflects the way Origins scorches listeners from start to finish.
Production wise, the sound is very close to being nailed. A little more sonic clarity in the mixing could have been achieved, however it is the opposing tones of the massive, full drums grating on the crunchy guitars and low end that gives Origins a feeling of being organic that is often lost by bands that choose to over-produce and over-refine their sound.
As a debut, Origins is an extremely well executed EP, let alone a great release in general. It isn’t perfect; its major shortcoming is track length which is partly due to the high quality of musicianship leaving the listener craving more. This may also be due to djent fans being used to bands such as TesseracT with notoriously long tracks setting the bar very high. However, on its own merits, Origins is an incredible first release, and a fantastic release regardless of where in the bands’ timeline it was released. If their proceeding releases are able to build on the success and strength of Origins, Whitefall are due for major success, and are definitely a band to keep an eye out for in the future.