Rage Against The Machine and Limp Bizkit are well known bands that come to mind when one thinks of aggressive heavy metal. Raw guitar tones, aggressive rap or shouting style vocals, heavy bass and energetic percussion are standard features of this style of metal. The South London band Encoded are reviving this genre with their new EP Psychosis.
The EP opens with Our Faith Has Gone. The aggressive tone is prevalent from the very beginning with Alex Bowmer’s aggressive vocals, and the raw, dirty sounding bass and the percussion are high in the mix. This track, the vocals in particular, are reminiscent of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst’s vocal style. Linkin Park influences also appear through the instrumentation and the alternating aggressive and more melodic vocal styles. Raw guitar tones really come through on the bridge of the track; dark, descending melodies and heavy minor rhythms add an almost gothic element, creating a haunting atmosphere. Track two, Normalisation, is very energetic with bouncing rhythms in the verse and an interesting time signature in the verse. Dirty, aggressive sounding guitar tones complement the tone of the vocals. The contrast between the verse and the chorus creates a dramatic sound. The aggression of the verse is contrasted with slower chord changes and more sustained notes in the vocal melody line. The verse continues the Limp Bizkit style influeces from the first track, but the chorus style adds something different – it adds more depth and complexity to the track.
Decalcified opens with a heavy chord sequence but the change into the eerie, atmospheric verse creates a dark tone in this track. The strong reverb effects on the guitar melody, raw bass and percssion once again suggest influences Limp Bizkit. The drawn out, serene vocals add a very different tone. This vocal style is very like that of Muse’s Matt Bellamy – particularly the Origin Of Symmetry era. Bowmer’s vocals reach high notes in a similar style with a slight breathy and raw edge. This track feels a bit more experimental with the vocal and instrumental styles of two very different bands being merged into one alongside Encoded’s own sound. The Same As Us develops further some of the styles established in the previous tracks. The harmonising of the vocals in the verse adds an extra layer to the track creating a full sound. The explosive energetic chorus once again presents a contrast of singing styles and, once again it is very effective. The inclusion of spoken sections in verse and a longer section in the bridge of the track. This emphasises the tone of the track and the meaning portrayed by the lyrics.
Encoded have achieved something different with Psychosis. The ability to merge numerous, well known, vocal and instrumental styles, along with their own sound to create something new is astounding. Especially considering how well it works. It will be fascinating to see where Encoded take their sound next.
For fans of: Limp Bizkit, Rage Against The Machine, Muse
Words by Holly Royle
‘Psychosis’ by Encoded is out now.