This is downtempo deathcore, which essentially means slow and heavy. Massive, thick chugging guitars crush and destroy, while the singer seems to be vomiting daemons with his absolutely monstrous growls.
The songs are punishing and unforgiving. You can also hear the hardcore part of the deathcore equation here and there, which usually causes the music to become a bit more upbeat on occasion too. Although the guitars are prominent and devastating, they’re actually not the main reason to listen to Bound in Fear, as we’ll see below.
One of the most effective aspects of this album is the background ambience. This sort of reliance on slow, chugging riffs could easily get very dull, very fast, but the songs here are largely rescued from that fate. This is due to a combination of slow chugging riffs that are actually pretty decent, and ambient backing sounds and melodies that provide an engaging atmosphere for the listener to get sucked in by, (and then smashed by the ubiquitous crushing guitars).
Also, the vocals. Holy crap. As mentioned above, the vocals are truly quite monstrous and Hellish. There is variation included, however, as occasionally the singer uses more of a standard deathcore cadence, before once again channelling all of the spirits of the underworld. Guest singers appear here and there too, but the star of the show is the singer of Bound in Fear. With the thunderous guitars having their standard destructive presence for the majority of the album, most of the characterisation in the songs comes in the background from ambient sounds, and in the foreground from the impressive and passionate performance of the singer. Acting as a focal point and driving force, his vocals are not only impressive in what they actually sound like, but also in the rhythms and patterns that they employ.
The Hand of Violence is a very interesting album. Because of the simplicity of the guitars, (despite their forcefulness), it falls to the elements in the background, (ambience and melodies), and foreground, (the talented and visceral vocal performance), to save this album from mediocrity and provide a measure of longevity and substance to the songs. It’s a risky approach to take, to be honest, but Bound in Fear make it work a lot more than they don’t. Due to this, I really enjoyed The Hand of Violence.
Looking forward to future releases, I really hope the band are not one trick ponies, (songs like Parallels make me hopeful for the future, however, with its softer first half and clean singing). However, at the moment it’s The Hand of Violence that we should be concerned with, and based purely on this album alone, Bound in Fear have made a fan of me.
Very highly recommended.