REVIEW: Aesthetic Empathy – Definement
N.B. Sorry for the delay, internet issues.
Band: Aesthetic Empathy
Shedding the stereotype of heavily-accented Eastern European metal, Bosnian metalcore sextet Aesthetic Empathy are set to release a début that’s been a long time coming. Forming in 2001, they set about forging a fanbase on the local circuit, playing gigs in their home country before spending 3 years in the studio recording Definement. Now, the record is finished and showcases some of the best metalcore I’ve heard for a while.
The opening salvoes of “A Lepering Domain” and “Bonfire Of Dreams” give a good indication of what’s to come: melodic metalcore in the vein of Shadows Fall with a tight rhythm guitar from Naprta, Opalka’s rumbling bass and cool drumwork from Kolmjenovic. Kascel provides interesting riffs such as on “Darkened Is The Essence”, but the main attraction lies in dual vocalists Dzudanovic and Bajric. The former has a mid-range scream akin to Brian Fair and some incredible low growls which are frequently employed (“Feed The Ignorance” being a good example), the latter has a deep and melodic voice which provides relief from the sometimes overbearing screams.
Breakdowns are usually a bane of mine, but Aesthetic Empathy find a way of working them into the song, or spicing them up such as in “Echoes Of Faith”. There is a fair amount of variety between tracks, especially when Bajric takes the lead on “Halfmoon And Silence” and a slight gothic tinge emerges aided by a light synth presence. These elements come together on the penultimate track “Deceptive Identity”, where all the vocal styles come together, along with a rap-style spoken word section which surprisingly works. And then, as a complete surprise, Bajric alone carries a poignant acoustic ballad, an ode to a butterfly, to close the album in an off-kilter way.
Lyrically, the album has two different sides to it. Some songs are well-written pieces on philosophy or politics à la oldschool Killswitch Engage (“I hold no grief for a world that fakes a smile to the burden it holds”), others suffer a little in the English or are swallowed in their delivery. One particularly well-crafted example is “Dualism”, a song about two halves of someone’s mind arguing, one child-like side and one cynical elderly side, before the last verse demands “Be silent, both of you know nothing/I’m here to teach peace between you two/I need you both so I could feel complete”.
In short, Definement is a solid slab of melodic metalcore for fans of older Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall. Aesthetic Empathy are sure to pick up a strong following if the right label is promoting them, and with such a strong album under their belts, it will be interesting to observe where they aim next. For now, enjoy the song posted below and keep an eye out for a release date!
Song to try: