Another week, another bunch of hardcore upstarts looking to make their mark on a scene that’s currently straining under the weight of so many of them. And it’s a tiresome exercise to sift through so many repetitive soundalikes, particularly when it reaches a point where so few can even be distinguished from each other. As such, any initial expectations for Newcastle’s GroundCulture weren’t high, especially given the media hype surrounding them that’s typically an ill omen for long-term success as it is.
Thankfully though, GroundCulture already seem to be displaying signs of a band who’ll be sticking around, looking to break away from the pack and forge something of an identifiable sound for themselves. Theirs is one that’s much more deeply ingrained in American hardcore than what their peers are doing, akin to bands like Beartooth or Stick To Your Guns but with a necessary British sense of acerbity. Obviously there’s still some work to be done to cultivate that sound into their own, but especially for a debut EP, tracks like Derailed and Deviate are already painting a promising picture in terms of the energy and overall vitriol on display.
It’s hardly all that innovative, but with the sense of melody that GroundCulture have, and the fact they just launch themselves into these six tracks with little fuss, it remains gripping all the same. Roy Watson is able to carry the same instinctive screaming technique that makes Caleb Shomo such a powerhouse vocalist, and when that’s translated to an area with plenty of room to seethe and grow like on Narrative, it’s an indication of the greatness this band could have with just a bit more seasoning.
As for now though, GroundCulture are making a mighty first impression indeed. There’s an exuberance here that much of British hardcore lacks, rarely clashing with the darker tones and generally making for a much more impactful listen. At the minute they may still be stacked among the coterie of hardcore chancers expecting to break down the door to no avail, but if one band is actually going to succeed at that, suggesting GroundCulture wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
For fans of: Beartooth, Stick To Your Guns, Stray From The Path
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘GroundCulture’ by GroundCulture is out now.