It seems misogynistic violence is on trend in metalcore. Feed Her to the Sharks led the aquatic way with Zombies Ate My Girlfriend chomping in its wake, both exacting satisfying chugs and saccharine melodies unto the metal public in a reasonable throwback to the All That Remains or Bullet For My Valentine-dominated scene from the mid-’00s. Now Shark Infested Daughters steps up to invoke unpleasant images of ravaged women with their debut, These Tides, Our Tombs. It was with an arched eyebrow and malicious smile that I approached it: self-released metalcore? With that shitty name?! This is gonna be good…
So it was with many wails and tears that I was forced to sit down and take a slice of humble pie as the record opens with “Tidebringer,” “Glass Kingdom” and “To Those who Have Hurt.” They’re a fond look back at a bygone era of actually-quite-good metalcore, capped with catchy choruses featuring reasonable female cleans, attractive synth melodies, and touches of Gothenburg in the guitar harmonies. It’s immediately apparent that nothing significantly new or different is being undertaken and such a record will, therefore, live or die by its melodies. These beginnings mark a band capable of writing solidly and willing to incorporate some fruitiness in their liberal synths and unashamedly hooky choruses. The album closes decently too, with “Hyperion” forgoing the verse-chorus structure and instead opting for a linear progression with a heightened conclusion, and “Hitokiri” returning to the enthusiasm of the early tracks.
But these extremities obfuscate a drab middle which suffers a noticeable dip in quality. 35 minutes sounds a great length but the central tracks do nothing beyond what’s executed better elsewhere, bogging down any momentum initially established and rendering this theoretically quick duration slow in practice. I found myself thoroughly discouraged, wanting to skip songs or even give up. It’s as well that I can’t under my duties as a reviewer given the improvements towards the end but it will stretch the attention of the non-committed listener.
But worse than this is that These Tides, Our Tombs is quite superficial: the good tracks are instantly gratifying but spun more than a few times the sheen fades. While there are better bits, I can’t say I’ll return even in part. Now, listening for a period beyond 10 minutes merely encourages me to turn over to Feed Her to the Sharks or Parkway Drive which isn’t exactly year-end list beckoning. This is exacerbated by the dynamics, the range of which are exactly as one would predict for self-released metalcore. The crushed nature of the music simply makes it a greater chore to hear, encouraging thoughts of other, better, records.
These Tides, Our Tombs isn’t seriously offensive, nor is it even so bad. But it is uninspired, lacks depth and falls flat around its middle. Other melodic metalcore, or even Misogynistic Metalcore™, is better in every regard. Something more substantial would go a long way, as would a structure which doesn’t kill my desire to reach the album’s end. Look elsewhere for your core fetish.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Websites: facebook.com/sharkinfesteddaughters | sharkinfesteddaughters.bandcamp.com
Releases worldwide: physically November 1st, 2016; digitally November 11th, 2016