Any time an album promo mentions Coalesce in the RIYL section it gets my attention almost immediately. That particular band has always been a favorite of mine when it came to metalcore and hardcore that was doing something interesting and not just going for breakdown after breakdown. So it’s for this particular reason that 34 caught my eye. They hail from Kansas City, MO, which happens to be where Coalesce is based so perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s some influence. On their debut self-titled EP these guys showcase a mix of metalcore and noise rock style grooves that is oh so appealing.
Today we’re premiering the song Stick Em Up, which wastes no time in establishing a lumbering, bottom heavy feel that falls squarely between the worlds of metalcore, hardcore, and noise rock. There’s the heavier tonality and riffing style of metalcore circa its late 90s to early 2000s period, as well as the jagged, angular feel to the instrumentation that gives off of more of a noise rock vibe. 34 layers melodies over top of this lumbering base during the chorus, giving that type of rougher yet accessible vibe that works so well for this type of material. It’s a track that goes by fairly quickly and sticks to the basics rather than trying to branch off too far onto the experimental or mathcore path. But that’s part of the appeal, as this is heavy riffing that knows how to get stuck in your head with some catchy grooves and a catchy chorus line.
Vocalist Brett Carter has been in Sicadis and At The Left Hand Of God, so he’s certainly no stranger to providing some aggressive low pitched growls to add some extra intensity to 34’s material. He’s in fine form here, hitting that rawer growling range with relative ease and the pitch reminds me a bit of Norma Jean. There’s a perfect balance between instrumentals and vocals, as Carter and the backing screams from RL Brooks have been given a prominent space at the front of the recording which makes them seem to gain even more power as the song progresses.
Metalcore/hardcore’s become something of a dirty word on some metal sites these days, mainly because of the trendy breakdown and electronic heavy bands that major labels have latched on to. But we still have groups like 34 offering up the groove heavy moments and catchy melodic leads that made metalcore and its offshoots so appealing years ago, and with a touch of noise rock’s angularness they come off feeling a bit different than the norm. 34’s self-titled EP will be out on Fountain City Records May 20th, and if you liked Stick Em Up rest assured the other four tracks are just as good.