When it comes to particular types of hardcore, one area that the UK excels in the many can’t seem to catch up with is the ability to imbue heavy music with such an overpowering bleakness, and still be able to hold a reasonable trade-off between being heavy and towering in size. It’s led to a definitive sound that many have been quick to jump on, mostly because it seems to be the most effective way to vent out frustrations about a society that continues to undervalue and attempt to hem in younger generations, but that’s part of the reason it resonates so greatly. It also means that the onus on diversity isn’t as heavy, and thus a band like Black Coast who, on their previous releases, have been so deeply ingrained in that very core sound, can thrive and grow with as much promise as anyone else.
And that becomes incredibly advantageous for an EP like Ill Minds Vol. 1, where Black Coast aren’t exactly searching for a sound of their own but looking to refine the larger features of the scene as a whole and run with them. On paper, that can seem a bit too much of a safe option – there’s a place for the “same but better” mindset but if often fails more than it doesn’t – but Black Coast genuinely have the weight behind them, diving into those more personal avenues that a lot of bands have a surprising amount of trouble with. The end products really do speak for themselves; Ill Minds and S.L.Y take aim at the drug industry that only suppresses mental illness than treat it and an abusive father figure respectively, and with Charlie being the colossal, roaring vocal presence that he is, there’s an incredible sense of weight and punch behind moments like this.
On the flip side though, that doesn’t entirely mask the very clear lineage that Black Coast are coming from, and particularly in a track like Lash Back, the vibes that come from falling in between While She Sleeps’ more chaotic early material and the towering size of the later work are stark. It’s not a bad influence to have, but it’s one that does drive Black Coast further than would be preferable. But even then, they’re doing it well, and when tracks like Break The Routine and Mark Of The Bastard hit like they do, there’s a bloody-mindedness and a surging power to how enormous these tracks are. They’re able to keep the guitars tight and clean enough to really soar, but without losing any heft or become too homogenous, and for a new band especially, that’s a skill that will take them far.
But really, where Ill Minds Vol. 1 stands out most compared to so many of Black Coast’s hardcore peers is in its ability to really go for broke and hit those heights that are so crucially close to brilliance. The overall aesthetic and execution mightn’t be that much different, but this is a rare case of a band who can simply do it better; they’re able to hold their own despite a lack of real innovation, and that’s impressive for an ostensibly new band. It’s really the best next step anyone could’ve hoped for from Black Coast, and with the second half of this two-EP project reportedly coming soon, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be keeping an eye out.
For fans of: While She Sleeps, Stick To Your Guns, Beartooth
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Ill Minds Vol. 1’ by Black Coast is released on 9th November on Primordial Records.