Knock knock, open up the door: it’s real metal! Non-stop and popping, it’s Steel and crew going hard and getting busy dropping trvth bombs on everybody’s asses. Here at AMG, a squad of rough writers rolls through the block, putting in work for all you kids who don’t know where the Hooded Menace is at, and it ain’t about the dough; it’s about being down for what you all stand for, fuck waiting for you to get it on your own. AMG is all about that chug life, his homies find the metal and share the wealth, and we all say thank ya. However, creeping within the Angry Metal Ranks is a wolf in sheep’s clothing; they don’t know who he be, but he doesn’t care about any of you, and he’s got a whole bunch of dreaded metalcore up his sleeve… and Muppet‘s gon’ give it to ya.
So you’ve probably figured out by now that Germany’s Whiteriver are about as kvlt as Crocs. Guitarists Daniel Wurm and Marvin Roth do loud, chuggy things and lay down some high-gain goodness from time to time, and drummer Christian Süper has no problem beating some sensible aggression into the album as needed, but make no mistake: this… is… METALCORE! Well, that’s what you cretins would likely call Warmth, though the band themselves bill their brand of sound-stuff as “ambient melodic hardcore”. Given their frequent — and frequently overdone — forays into reverb-riddled clean passages which unfailingly break down into B-grade breakdowns and hooky angst — so, you know, “metalcore” — the band may actually be on to something there. Whatever the case, the trve and elite may as well move on, this one’s not for you. For those who have heart, though: you deserve nothing and I hope you get less, so here’s some Whiteriver.
Stylistically speaking, sonic surprises are scarcely seen amongst the structural scenery of Warmth. There are 2 throwaway ambient interludes, there are edgy monologues, there are breakdowns visible from miles away, and the vocals are identical to the roughly 836,267,444 bands trying to be Silverstein. Furthermore, for all the technical flair of their forefathers, the fretwork here often feels fairly flavorless and unfulfilling; I’ll not mince words, there’s very little in the way of originality going on here, and almost no zazz to speak of. For 12 tracks and 43 minutes, Warmth angsts its way through fields of formulaic ‘core modeling, keeping to the trails mapped out by acts such as Blessthefall or We Came as Romans and taking zero compositional risks the whole time. If anything experienced within the walls of Warmth manages to surprise you, you’re probably too young to be here in the first place.
Though Whiteriver take very few creative stabs with Warmth, this isn’t to say that the album is entirely ineffectual. The guitar tones here are warm and gorgeous, and the dual vocal performance is as solid as anyone else’s in the genre. Indeed, everyone’s performance on Warmth is passable and passionate, it’s just that no one is doing anything to add any real definition to Whiteriver‘s identity. To wit, that identity is as follows: one part Surroundings vocals, two half-parts August Burns Red guitars and a dash of a store-brand rhythm section. The flavor here may be almost too familiar, yet when served with the undeniably energetic conviction heard in each member’s playing the result is enjoyable enough to somewhat belie its lack of ambition or uniqueness. Whiteriver resemble a deconstructed Architects on “For Life”, a defoliated August Burns Red on “Fall”, and a de-awesomed Erra on “Royal Blood”; Everyone can play their instruments and the sonic palette utilized is palatable enough, however, none of this is enough to make Warmth much more than playlist filler.
Though the tools and talent to turn this troop of intrepid Thrice-lings are truly there, taking the time to trace their own trail of tears – instead of trying to be twins of their tonal touchstones – should have happened but didn’t, and as a result, we got Lukewarmth. Enjoyable enough, perhaps, and fans of the genre will certainly be able to get some miles out of this but don’t be surprised when the road repeatedly reroutes to revisit the core that came before. To the tweens up in here reading through tears of angsty bafflement over this, like, totally unfair trashing of their newfound spirit animal: leave the hall, y’all gon’ make me lose my mind.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Redfield Records
Websites: whiteriverde.bandcamp.com | whiteriver-music.com |facebook.com/whiteriveroffical
Releases Worldwide: July 6th, 2018