REVIEW ROUND-UP: Eat Your Heart Out, Grief Ritual, Sobriquet, State Of You

A blurred figure walking down a corridor lit in pink neon light

Eat Your Heart Out

Can’t Stay Forever

The most prominent impression that Eat Your Heart Out give off is one of a band that isn’t bad at all, but don’t show it off in that beneficial of a way. Their debut Fluorescence was incredibly set in pop-rock’s ways, especially in 2019 when the genre’s more earnest, honest changes were coming into greater effect. Had it been released a few years before—maybe to capitalise on the momentum of fellow Aussies Tonight Alive—there would’ve been some greater ripples made, rather than pop-rock whose older style of creation fit perfectly with how generally forgettable it could be.

At least Can’t Stay Together is marginally better, in the sense that Eat Your Heart Out take on some bolder melodies that can tighten themselves up a bit. Particularly on Scissors In My Skin and Heavenly, their older-style sensibilities correlate more with the tone and bounce they pick up on, verging more on alt-rock while still being reasonably sharp. It’s all produced to feel like a rock album, as was the case with the era of earlier-2010s pop-rock they’re drawing from; there’s more muscle and bluster to the guitars, and outside of the strings on Blood and whistle of synth on Poison Devotion, there’s little to distract from that.

From a different perspective though, that puts a pretty firm cap on what Eat Your Heart Out can achieve, especially in the current climate. They’re big and expressive but severely lack the edge that might get misused elsewhere, but helps others to stand out. On Can’t Stay Forever, by comparison, the main setting is mid-gear, feeling that way whether intentional or not. Thankfully the band do move away from the more overworked alt-rock trappings present on the opening duo Forget Me and Down, the sonic branch of Eat Your Heart Out’s sound that most appears to hit a dead end.

It’s still not even like this is bad, as much as just a bit uninteresting. The catchier moments do stand out (and having more of them is definitely a plus), but on the whole, the album is still without the oomph that’s necessary to take it further. Caitlin Henry is a good vocalist for this sort of thing, but as with most of what’s here, there’s little flair that does a great deal to elevate her performance. Paired with lyrics that go down the exact avenues of emotion that—you guessed it—were commonplace in the 2010s and generally feel a bit flavourless now, Eat Your Heart Out continue to struggle to make an impact, not just on their scene but from just a regular listen. At least there’s more to it than its predecessor, but that’s also by a factor of degrees when much more is needed to leave a conscious impression. The best that can be said for Can’t Stay Forever is that it’s still very listenable, for whatever negligible credit that might be worth.

For fans of: Tonight Alive, Yours Truly, Between You & Me

‘Can’t Stay Forever’ by Eat Your Heart Out is released on 9th September on Fearless Records.

A figure with their hands to their face in grief

Grief Ritual

Spiritual Disease

Get ready for another hardcore band to never hear the end of (in a good way, of course), because Grief Ritual clearly aren’t messing around. This is their debut EP and already they’re drilling deep into the nastiness that makes this particular brand of heft so thrilling, at times with a genuinely excellent accuracy. Opening salvos are seldom finer at establishing the tone of what’s to come than Dissolution, shaking the earth below it under the weight of its bleakness, pummelling with slow, serrated riffs and a crushing drum size that often borders on post-metal in its implacability.

Even among composite parts that aren’t shy about their parallels to the scene at large, there’s something about Grief Ritual’s application of them that’s a key elevating point. The darkness encroaches with imposing size, completed by a particularly gnarled suite of screams and growls from Jamie Waggett that fits with the more torn, metallic edge. It all comes around with Telluric or Atrophy, swerves into slaughtering death metal that’s such a natural and obvious fit.

Granted, Grief Ritual don’t quite have the same pliability that some of the best of hardcore has shown this year, but that’s not exactly a mark against them when they’re reaching their own goals to this standard. Theirs is one of the more thrilling displays of miserabilism to come out in a while, pinned down by austerity that leaves them feeling like a burden on underfunded public services while the landscape of capitalism and right-wing rule only exacerbates it further. The rawness is obvious, as is the purpose and power, to where Spiritual Disease’s void-black outlook is always suitably crushing, physically and thematically.

It’s a testament to how far Grief Ritual can push their metallic hardcore sound and wring out as much of that stark gold as they do. Even with British hardcore in ridiculously rude health at the moment, they’re a welcome addition among a scene continuing to spawn the most exciting bands around. It’s not hard to see them among that camp either; even with the clearest thematic gimme that heavy music has right now, the fact Grief Ritual cut this much of a bone-deep figure says exactly what it needs to about where they’re headed.

For fans of: END, Leeched, Creature

‘Spiritual Disease’ by Grief Ritual is released on 9th September.

A gold carving of a woman’s face with her hands covering her eyes, and wings coming from her arms



First things first—massive congratulations to Sobriquet for actually finding their feet. That was the main issue that anchored their last EP A Hundred Thousand Tongues, where their aim was 2000s post-hardcore that was never as grandiose nor as punchy as they wanted. Thus, the near-complete overhaul undertaken on Apotheosis is promising enough on face value, but these are some big swings that pay off handsomely.

It’s a lot heavier for a start, and free from the pop-punk-adjacent crutch that Sobriquet obviously didn’t need to rely on as much. Instead, Apotheosis seeks to deeply ingratiate itself among the showy post-hardcore that’s clearly Sobriquet’s bread and butter. That means—of course—there’s a lot of My Chemical Romance in here, from Ludovico Fahey’s frantic, electrified delivery that can still vamp like nobody’s business, to sharpened instrumentals pulling just as much from the glam and the gothic as from hardcore, to just the general feel of the whole thing. That intangible quality is arguably what holds it all together the tightest; in the same way that Save Face nailed their particular emulation on Another Kill For The Highlight Reel, the likes of Death Of The Author or Heliotrope have the exact same theatrical gusto to them, albeit pulling it off more raggedly.

It’s such a better fit for Sobriquet when they were so blatantly holding themselves back last time, and armed with Lewis Johns’ production for the necessary teeth to lean further into their hardcore side. The ambition is more present too, in the more defined narrative of a protagonist’s stages of evolution, right down to the simple inclusion of a melancholy interlude in The Dark, The Light, The Void to fully emblazon the sort of band Sobriquet want to be. At no point does it feel put on either; there’s ample substance among all the style, performed well with palpable effort ensuring the balance is achieved.

And that completely pays off this time, in such a huge turnaround from one of a billion okay-but-unremarkable bands, to one with blossoming promise that can’t be downplayed. It’s pointed and vicious with all the right doses of melody and flourish at its disposal, and Sobriquet’s maturation into a far better band allows it all to shine brightly. Not one to take lightly anymore then, nor should an EP that rockets this high in estimations go unseen by too many.

For fans of: My Chemical Romance, Underøath, From Autumn To Ashes

‘Apotheosis’ by Sobriquet is released on 2nd September.

Photo reels of State Of You performing and recording.

State Of You

State Of You

Between former members of Polar, Hildamay, Outcry Collective and others, State Of You take that experience of turn-of-the-decade post-hardcore and mould it into a pretty strong Cancer Bats impression. It doesn’t ring with the usual trappings of a debut EP, that much should be said; sure, individuality isn’t much of a factor, but this tight and potent of a portrayal can make up for a lot.

It sounds excellent across the board, as all the necessary ferociousness is left in and allows for some strong deviances, like the staccato punk of Blood Party or the touches of While She Sleeps-esque towering that colour how melodic Lies and Reckoning are. At their heart though, State Of You have the ripping hardcore down to an art form, as guitars and bass growl like feral animals wrestling for territory, moderated by Steve Sitkowski with his more cockeyed snarl that’s definitely paying homage to Liam Cormier.

Perhaps most crucially though—especially for an EP that is so deep in established settings and sounds—State Of You don’t feel burdened by the influences for as clearly as they’re there. As Sitkowski wrenches out a cry of “This is British rock ‘n’ roll!” on The Perfect Storm, it’s obvious how swept up in the freewheeling, balls-to-the-wall ride this band are. And for the jabs at cancel culture that are rather old hat on Run, the backdrop of ever-grey Britain acts as the ideal opportunity to power through with palpable intensity and drive. Six tracks with barely an ounce of fat among them yields the peak of State Of You’s abilities, something that shouldn’t be understated on a debut release.

In all field, the straightforwardness works to its advantage and earmarks State Of You as a genuine one to watch within British hardcore. Perhaps not in the sense that they’ll revolutionise the scene or anything, but certainly for the energy and gumption they bring by the barrel-full. In that sense, they struck gold on their first try, and provided an instant shot in the arm that’ll hopefully propel them far.

For fans of: Cancer Bats, Gallows, The Bronx

‘State Of You’ by State Of You is released on 2nd September on Silent Cult Recordings.

Words by Luke Nuttall

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