EP REVIEW: BAILER – Shaped by the Landscape

What’s most surprising Irish metallic hardcore sorts BAILER is that they’ve only been a band for the better part of the year. This is surprising because of how talented, polished and accomplished Shaped by the Landscape, the band’s debut EP, sounds.

It’s by no means perfect, but considering the length of time that the band’s been about it’s astonishing how close to the finished article it sounds. So before talking about the songs themselves, it is worth noting how well-produced and mixed this EP is for a band at this early stage in their career. This allows every element that composes BAILER’s sound – Alex O’Leary‘s fierce yowling vocals, as well as a pummelling rhythm section and razor-sharp guitar lines – to be heard clearly.

The EP wastes no time in getting things started, opening with a pummelling riff that kicks off Failsafe, a punky track that exemplifies everything good about fast-paced hardcore. Single The Binding continues this trend, sounding like the sonic equivalent of a punch in the face. While many metalcore bands marry metal’s melody with hardcore’s pace, BAILER take the heavier elements of dirtier metal, as so many bands of their like do, without sacrificing any of the punk energy.

Anti-Venom has hints of mathcore, although it’s closer to the ferocity of Botch and Norma Jean than the polyrhythms of The Dillinger Escape Plan or Converge. This isn’t a criticism, however – BAILER don’t get bogged down in over-technicality in this no-nonsense 15-minute tour de force.

Benefit of the Doubt closes the EP in grand fashion, veering away from sheer heaviness with more emotive lyrics and vocals, and stripping away some of the pace from earlier tracks. It’s not exactly Touché Amoré but its a pleasant change – which is an accomplishment in a very short opus such as this one.

The band lack a distinction that would set them apart from the masses of other metallic hardcore groups around at the moment, but Shaped by the Landscape shows promise, great songwriting ability and indicates that BAILER are destined for big things in the future.


Standout tracks: Benefit of the Doubt

For Fans Of: Norma Jean, Counting Days, early Your Demise

Written by: Alan Cunningham