Bound in Fear – The Hand of Violence Review

Bound in Fear - The Hand of Violence 01“Be careful what you wish for, yo,” they tell me.1 Well, they, and everybody else, also tell me to smile more, to not swear so fucking much in front of the children, and to stop stealing money from the holiday party collection jar to buy cigarettes and scratch tickets… take a wild guess how that’s going. This time, I’ve been wishing on stars, airplanes, and eyelashes that haven’t even fallen yet for something to bring out the angry side of my inner metal guy, and, well, here we are. Admittedly, I figured the odds of deathcore disappointment were decent by design, but the UK’s Bound in Fear completely obliterated my low hopes with their debut full-length The Hand of Violence… yay?

This review will hardly be inundated with praise, so if you’re Ken you absolutely need some positivity in your reading material, this paragraph’s for you. First, the vocals are pretty fuckin solid—for the most part. Occasional but obligatory forays into pig vocal territory do little to distinguish Bound in Fear from the rest of the herd, but when Ben Mason belts out an actual scream he does so with more substance and believable rage than your average Unique Leader bait. Somewhere between early (read: good(ish)) Slipknot and Born of Osiris, I can honestly say that I enjoy the bulk of Mason’s performance on Violence. It’s convincing and well-executed,  and I have to imagine that it would be rather impressive to behold this aspect of Bound in Fear in a live environment. Also, I don’t hate their logo.

In an unfortunate, and unforeseen turn ov events, Violence gave me a better appreciation for what life must be like for people who aren’t Cherd or myself when presented with 20+ minute doom tracks. The songs typically average four-to-five minutes in length, and there are only ten of them, but somewhat paradoxically for the genre, there is a serious adrenaline deficiency plaguing this album. Violence is something to the effect of all build with little to no release, although even that’s a bit generous. It’s more like the musical equivalent of half-waking up from a particularly brutal nightmare, considering getting up to take a piss but instead rolling back over and hoping for the best. Occasionally things flare up into genuine aggression a la Oceano, but by and large, these tracks spend most of their time in the calm before the breakdown without actually breaking down, and I can’t stress enough how just utterly fucking infuriating this was to endure.

I find it kind of funny, and I find it kind of sad that the absence of overly slammy or wanky moments make Violence the worst deathcore album I’ve ever had to listen to. Typically I despise such things, at least in the OD levels the genre is known for, but it turns out that things only go to shit when you take those things out of deathcore entirely. While I genuinely respect Bound in Fear‘s attempt at wandering outside the box, their frequent failure to fire off into a fretboard frenzy or fierce, foreboding chuggery just frustrates the fuck-fucking fuck right the fuck outta me. Between Mason’s seething vocals, the thick, snarling tone of the guitars and the occasional stick spazzery of skinsman Alex Richins, there’s so much room for things to get rowdy, or at least interesting, and yet it just doesn’t fucking happen. For every twenty seconds of actual violence on Violence, there are 100 more of loud but tepid schlepping, all of which add up to a deathcore miscalculation that I deeply regret having sought out.

You don’t have to make the same mistakes as me, yo. For all my misgivings towards deathcore, there’s something to be said for knowing what to expect through genre affiliation, and I can’t see too many ‘core kids flocking to this and feeling like they got what they came for. As always, I refuse to concede the wildly impossible and utterly fucking insulting notion that maybe I just ‘don’t get’ what Bound in Fear are accomplishing with The Hand of Violence, yet I’m certain that it’s nothing I’m gonna have to wish I’d scored higher down the road. Hats off to them for exploring relatively new grounds for the genre2, and by all means, if downtempo deathcore does anything for you then slowly make your way over to this one. I, however, never want to listen to or talk about The Hand of Violence again, and you can’t fucking make me.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 1411 kbps WAV
Label: Unique Leader Records
Websites: boundinfear.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/boundinfear
Releases Worldwide: August 16th, 2019

Show 2 footnotes

  1. “They,” ov course, being the voices in my headhole.
  2. Yes, yes, I know about Black Tongue and Oceano, but it’s still not like one typically hears this high octane sound lent to such low octane fare.
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