Release date: 2nd July
Landscapes have hit the road hard in the two years since the release of their debut EP, Reminiscence. Leaving a swollen path of bruises and an exhausted queue of damaged limbs in their wake, the band have built up a loyal and established fanbase through building on the success of Reminiscence and hinging their reputation on all-out, affecting gigs which leave you feeling as if you’ve just had a fist-fight with your best friend. With each punchy note, your stomach loops and falls; with each melodic strike of a note, your throat swells and dries up; with each lashing of the vocals your mind flickers back to memories of better times, of times when you felt something, anything, other than numb hope in a world full of false pretence and unreachable aspirations. Landscapes play music that is real, music that forgives, and as you raise a fist to the face of your best friend, you’ll realise that in the morning none of it will matter – friendship is forever but life isn’t and this is what Landscapes tap into so well: the emotion and strength of their music will last forever, but the feelings that they leave you with will change depending on yourself. You take the music for what it is, but you can’t deny that you won’t feel something while listening to the band.
Their melodic hardcore has seen the band play with the likes of Defeater, Ceremony, La Dispute, Touche Amore, Your Demise, The Bronx, and many more. The band have utilised a darker sound than on their EP here, and rather than pigeonholing themselves as a contemporary hardcore band, they’ve created something fresh and distinctive that will have you begging for repeat listens.
The album starts with the lament-drenched Cemetery. The song eclipses by slowly and the atmosphere that agitates each note will have you fidgeting and scratching at that imaginary itch that gets worse and worse as the melodic guitars coil and throttle their way through the song. The vocals pull you through the flooding drums and as you reach the surface and feel your lungs throb, the track breathes new life into you.
DREAM begins with drawn-out, dissonant chords and a pulsing drumbeat which soon pares away for more melody to enter the fray. The rhythm may not be the most frantic we’ve heard Landscapes, but it’s the slow, ritualistic structure of the track that makes it such a standout. It’s almost as if the band are ushering you in to a secret place, a place only you can find and once you’re inside the door is locked shut, leaving you with just your thoughts. Close your eyes and listen to the track and you’ll find memories of lost summers, extinguished friendships and mislaid relationships surging back. The song lies in reminiscence, and appreciation has got to be given for the band’s ability to connect with the listener in such an emotional way.
Forgiveness has the eeriness of cold winter air gushing through a deserted town, scooping up pockets of sand as another gust hungers through and as the measured acoustic guitar ticks over. The glistening moon sickly smiles down as the monologue in the track bleeds in. Camera shot: a grizzled old man, the last survivor of the town, sat on his doorstep with a half-empty bottle of JD, facing the sky and talking to himself as tears fall. The monologue in the track is taken from The Wrestler, played by Mickey Rourke, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to the music.
Paradox, the last track, hypnotises and lulls you with its deliberate, embedded poignancy. The vocals are heartfelt and ruthless, leading the guitars to build up and eventually slice through the track, cutting the emotion away and throwing it in the gutter. The riff is really hard not to move to, and whether the band intended this or not doesn’t really matter, but it’s imaginable the track would be a great one to end a live set as it incorporates all elements of the band’s style: melody and passion in bucketloads and uncompromising riffs loaded with unbending sensitivity and vocals and lyrics that hark back memories of times gone by.
For a debut hardcore album, this is about as good as it gets. Landscapes haven’t missed anything out and the end result is a listen that’ll have you gripping your seat, listening intently to the lyrics as the music strings you up bare and leaves your soul hanging there as the vultures of your past, and future, circle overhead until their hunger strikes. This is the band that could be the next face of British hardcore and if this is life gone wrong, then let nothing be right again.