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A few songs doesn’t necessarily mean a short album. On the new EP from Toronto’s The Long Dark Road, the band takes four songs and fits almost an entire album’s worth of content on them. Mixing parts System Of A Down, Deafheaven, Baroness and others along with post-punk, metal and screamo influences, the album is a varied mix of different facets of alternative and metal styles of rock.
There’s hefty metal and punk overtones to opening track “Tragedy Of The Commons” as it rips to life, shredding its guitars with vigor, before hitting a steady groove. After meddling on this groove the song bursts into another riff before hitting a darker old-metal mood for intensely moody feeling. Heading into the second half of the song, the track turns into a breakneck-speed race before returning to riffs for its slow and screamo filled bridge, itself turning into an instrumental outro to the epic track.
Rolling drums open the System Of A Down-tinged “I Will Follow” before moving to its brooding harmonies and builds towards stop and go grimy guitars. The sludge each chorus brings up is intensely heavy, and way the song speeds up into a funk boom is addictively groovy. They then move to a sombre interlude before returning to a run of guitar and drums, ending on a pounding exit of rhythmic guitar and drums.
“The State Of Our Union” carries the most catchy rhythms of the record, begging for tapping feet in the process. The grooves that accompany it later on blend in perfectly although some of the melodies, while good are a little lost when placed against such a noticeable and enjoyable rhythm section. It does feel like a bit of a loss to lose this rhythm to the straightforward drumming and progressions, however burning the passion behind them is, as they feel very separate from the syncopated feel the song starts on.
Relentless drums and vicious guitars open title track “The Long Dark Road” before its extremely mellow break. The track returns to roaring verse before another mellow break that slowly builds to triumphant finale of licks and distortion.
This EP is as extended as they come, reaching almost 40-minutes between four songs. While the longer cuts don’t necessarily feel like they out stay their welcome they also struggle at taking off at times, and can feel at times like connected ideas rather than fluid tracks. This said, metal fans will dig into the writing wholeheartedly, and the rhythms and melodies across the record are truly promising, especially given the technicality. On a full-fledged record there’s a lot to be brought from the table if the band can take what they learned and move it forward.