Nicolas Cage Fighter – The Bones That Grew from Pain Review

If you’re going to name your band Nicolas Cage Fighter, it means one of two things: 1. You’re a comedy metal act that doesn’t take itself too seriously or 2. You’re so badass that you own this name completely. Surprisingly, these Aussies are the latter. They take their moniker as seriously as Dr. An. Grier takes his, and the band wastes no time getting down to the business of pummeling their listener’s ears. Though they’ve been around for over ten years, the band sounds young, hungry and out for blood. Will The Bones That Grew from Pain be another exhibition fight, or will it be the band’s ticket into the octagon and shot at the title?

The Bones That Grew from Pain is the band’s first full-length outing, and it slaps harder than an epileptic walrus. The album is an economical burner with 37 minutes of crushing riffs, blasting drums and screaming vocals. As the name suggests, Nicolas Cage Fighter never relent. If you don’t like the current guitar riff, you’re guaranteed to get a new one within 30 seconds. While this can result in some of the music feeling “stock,” a band like this is more focused on breaking necks than new ground. That said, they have matured since their 2021 EP and locked in their sound. This album has more swagger, better production and more fire to it. The record opens fiercely with “Grey Eye” and keeps a constant cadence the entire playthrough. Just as you start to nod off rather than nod along with the infectious riffs, the album wraps. While it doesn’t exactly leave me wanting more, it makes me curious to see what they’ll do next.

I’m an olde man and all the “cores” you kids listen to these days confuse me. Just as actor Nick Cage has a range that goes from heroic chemist helping Sean Connery rescue hostages in Alcatraz to sensitive truffle farmer looking for his pig, Nicolas Cage Fighter fuses several musical styles into a single fierce and enjoyable package. The band embraces the term “metallic hardcore” but there are definite death metal undertones from drummer Matt Davenport who cut his teeth in a death metal band before joining NCF. Does that make this record “deathcore?” I don’t know, but if Jon Travolta can steal Nick Cage’s face, anything is possible. The band sounds like a leaner and angrier Hatebreed with a dose of Killswitch Engage funk added in. Guitarist Justin Ellis and drummer Davenport seem to have found the right chemistry to make the riffs pummel you while laying down a healthy dose of groove at the same time. Their synchronicity is the great joy of the album. Bassist Tom Bardwell keeps the groove flowing but isn’t high in the mix. Vocalist Nicholas Moriarty spews a constant stream of syncopated scowls that match the musical intensity. Where he lacks variety and dimension he compensates with ferocity.

Thematically, The Bones That Grew from Pain describes deep discontentment. The band explores the relationship between the internal and external to answer the question “Why do I feel so shitty about the world?” Their music is an aggressive vehicle that delivers the message like so many well-placed roundhouse kicks. “Compound and Fracture” – one of the album’s stronger tracks – takes a deep jab at people who complain and blame others while never taking accountability for their own lives. “Static Abyss” – one of the slower tracks – is an updated “Environmental Holocaust” about the evils of human consumption. Though their hearts are in the right place it feels like they’re still maturing. This album was a big step musically and I hope their next step is weaving the message and music even more succinctly. Nicolas Cage Fighter begin to add more textures as in the closing track “A Great Ruinous Deed.” Perhaps the next record will be their Leaving Las Vegas.

On those days you feel pissed off, alone or frustrated with the world, The Bones That Grew from Pain could be your soundtrack. It’s also a great workout record and overall solid outing that places the band as contenders in the world of hardcore, deathcore and whatever cores you’ll correct me on in the comments section. This is a young band still developing their playbook but with some time and training, they could go the distance and deliver a true monster knockout.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records | Blacklight Media Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 22nd, 2022

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