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Track Review: Strains – Denial

Strains is a metalcore band from Belgium, having recently released their single ‘Denial’. As the title suggests, the lyrics focus on one’s need to address a personal issue before advancing. Vocally and instrumentally, this track is something to easily be admired by older and younger generations of hardcore and metalcore fans alike.

The raw screams of the vocals take us back to a time in the hardcore scene when it was more about the emotion and experience you threw into a scream, rather than the stomach muscles every other metalcore vocalist is using today. In particular, vocalist Maarten Janssen is articulate in the vocal flow throughout the song by not only complementing the riffs, but constantly remaining unpredictable and keeping us guessing as to where the song will go next.

Instrumentally, the drums are solid. This track does not ever have a dull moment; I counted four transitions before the breakdown, and I was able to count them very easily because the drum fills high-light the transitions of the song so diligently. Hence, listeners are thereby able to pin-point the part of the song they should be bouncing to, right up to the traditional hardcore pace that would have them running in circles. Being in a mosh pit to this song must be quite the battle.

While we all like Open C or Open A breakdowns chugging to various double-kick patterns, this breakdown is special purely because it is the way breakdowns used to be in the metalcore scene; played near the end of the song so that they act as a conclusion, rather than a dependant riff to kill time with. It is great to see that there are still bands out there honouring this timeless art. Finally, the fading of the song is one that will leave listeners satisfied and waiting to hear more, or if they’re anything like me, wanting to hear the song after this one on an upcoming album.

At this point, the only improvement I could really suggest is maybe a guitar solo, or at least a melodic harmony. The reason I say that is because this single has done very well to capture the moodiness and distress of a conflicted individual going through denial – I honestly think a guitar solo of a similar mood would make this song perfect.

Other than that, ‘Denial’ is a single that every core connoisseur ought to have on their mixed playlist. Personally, I’d have it somewhere in between my Unearth and Heaven Shall Burn tracks, but to each their own, I look forward to hearing more from Strains.

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  • Gabi on

    Love the review Roman

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