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Auckenrose: Physis

In the modern day and age of internet distribution, self-releasing albums and EP's for free download seems to be the way to go for many new bands. Rhode Island-based progressive deathcore act Auckenrose has used this format to release their debut EP, Physis, in March of 2011. The technical/progressive deathcore scene has quite a few mediocre acts releasing albums using this method, but Auckenrose is one that's actually worth more than just a passing glance. Physis is a unique and innovative EP with challenging songwriting and intricate details that demand repeat spins. For a free download, there's certainly not much to lose here.

Auckenrose plays a mix of deathcore and progressive metal, but delivers the style much more originally than you may expect. There are also a few touches of jazz fusion and post rock here that may surprise unsuspecting listeners. "Inhale Silence" is a brief progressive intro that segues into the much heavier "Awakening (Your Truth)". The alternating clean/growled vocals add extra variation into Auckenrose's sound and the musicianship is also excellent across the board. "Cognitive Dissonance" is the highlight track here - this is a generally powerful song, with an interesting jazz section in the middle that builds in a manner similar to that of Between the Buried and Me. The track does feel a bit inconsistent at times, but Auckenrose's adventurous attitude doesn't go unnoticed by me! "Archaea" is the heaviest moment here; this one is a straight-up deathcore assault. The final song contrasts quite nicely with the rest of the album. "Exhale Silence" is played in a mellowed-out post metal style and is filled with tasteful builds and unforgettable melodies.

This generally strong EP does have one major flaw, though, and that's in the production department. It's not unlistenable, but it is of demo-quality. The guitars lack bite, the bass drum often has a weird reverb, and the mix is generally unprofessional. Of course, for a self-released debut EP this is a standard complaint, but I have a feeling I may have enjoyed Physis significantly more if it had a professional production.

Despite my gripes with the production, this is an EP worth checking out (especially for free download). I have a great appreciation for innovative young bands like Auckenrose, and although Physis has its shortcomings, it's an exceptional debut from this American trio. 3 stars are well-deserved in this case. I'll be keeping an eye on where Auckenrose heads in the future.

Track Listing:
1. Inhale Silence (1:14)
2. Awakening (Your Truth) (5:56)
3. Cognitive Dissonance (7:35)
4. Archaea (2:34)
5. Exhale Silence (5:35)

Added: April 22nd 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Auckenrose Facebook
Hits: 1631
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Auckenrose: Physis
Posted by Brian Block, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-04-22 09:09:38
My Score:

Inhale Silence

Rhode Island death metalcore act Auckenrose formed in early 2009 and this is their first release since then. Starting out as a solo project, Auckenrose soon developed into a complex, and very good three piece band. Metalcore is definitely not one of my favorite genres, and I don't end to look into much from the genre, but Auckenrose put Physis up for free download and how could I refuse? Today it is important for people to hear your music so that they can get to know your band, especially when you're a newer band such as Auckenrose. By doing so bands get a wide audience and I hope that is what happens here.

The music on Physis is very sound and compliments the vocals well. This EP reminds me a lot of Between the Buried and Me's The Great Misdirect. Not only does Auckenrose sound similar to them, but the format of the EP is quite similar also. Physis starts out with a cool, slow track, 'Inhale Silence' much the same as "The Great Misdirect starts out with a slower song, 'Mirrors'. 'Inhale Silence' is a very cool track that is different from all the others on the EP. Not only is it all instrumental, featuring great guitar work from Daniel Tonski, but it isn't metalcore at all. After the first couple of seconds this becomes quite self evident and the song eventually takes on an alternative metal sound, which is really cool.

The rest of the album is pretty standard metalcore, with great drumming from Andrew Lima and also some nice bass licks. An out of the ordinary thing that I picked up was the interesting jazz section on 'Cognitive Dissonance'. That really added flavor to the album, cleanly dividing the heavier 'Awakening (Your Truth)' and the almost death metal 'Archaea'. One thing about this album though is the vocals. While I don't hate them, I definitely think they could be improved on. They seem a bit muddled, I don't know if this is because of the production or not, but that is my one complaint.

As I just said the production is one downside of this EP. Granted, it was put up for free download and all that, but I would've appreciated more zing, or power, from the guitars. Also, as I said before, the vocals could be brought higher up in the mix because they are a bit muffled.

Besides from those production issues, though, this EP is a great start for Rhode Island metalcore band Auckenrose. Combining great death/metalcore sound similar to Between the Buried and Me and softer less intrusive metal, Auckenrose has put out an EP that is not only good, but free. For this release Auckenrose gets 3 stars, but I can see future releases easily eclipsing this one

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