Metalcore, in theory, is an awesome fusion between heavy metal and hardcore. Unfortunately, metalcore, in reality, is a stale combination of something other than heavy metal and something other than hardcore. So, needless to say, when I got my hands on Bridge to Solace's new EP Kingdom of the Dead, I regained a bit of faith in the genre.
Like any good metal-influenced European band (I actually don't specifically know what country they are from, although my guess is Sweden) they have a nice prologue complete with an eerie choir normally reserved for strolls through some of the magnificent cathedrals over there. Just as quickly as my heartbeat had slowed down and I was beginning to fall asleep, they start up with "Believe" and the boys of Bridge To Solace punched into my chest and physically start pumping my heart rate up to unhealthy levels. Think Unearth, only more of a hardcore sound. Vocalist Zoli Jakab has a shriek reminiscent of In Flames from their Colony days. The guitars are based on an abundance of melody and they retain that agro-metal edge. But just as quickly, Adam Fellegi and Krisztian Alberti are able to go into a head pounding power riff, complimented perfectly by Tamas Kuttner on drums. He doesn't go berserk on the drums to take away from the guitar, but he is more complicated than just pounding on all the cymbals and double bass as frantically as possible. "Believe" fluctuates between pure metal and pure hardcore at sheer will. The final minute and half has the song slowly fading away, yet the gang vocals are there shouting, "This is our anger/this is our youth."
The next track "Kingdom of the Dead" is a frantic paced metal bombardment. The guitars are not too complex, but still, very reminiscent of earlier In Flames. They perfectly layer the melody with a simple single note guitar stroke that coincides exactly with my headbanging. Towards the middle of the track, they are back into what metalcore should sound like, complex hardcore. The mosh riff is more than just one note, but still not too much that a less than average guitar player couldn't handle it. Once again, Kuttner on drums does a perfect job of complimenting the beat. This time around, it is just cymbals and bass drums, but it's steady and gets the job done. Hearing Jakab shriek, "enter the kingdom of the dead" is eerie in its own right, but then that crazy choir from the intro track pops in. It's very expected and kind of cliché, but in this instance it works perfectly.
For the most part, Kingdom Of The Dead is one of the most solid EPs I have heard in awhile. At only four tracks (five including the intro), Bridge to Solace has put out an awesome effort and has hooked me for life. With so much metalcore crap being crap nowadays, it is nice to see that some people have a handle of what the genre should have always sound liked. Fans of earlier In Flames and of newer Unearth will eat this up like there is no tomorrow. Everyone else, just check it out and unless you absolutely hate metal, then I imagine you will like it just as much as I do.