Described by those in the know as “Holland’s best kept secret”, young whippersnappers The Charm The Fury have been making waves recently with a spot on the coveted Warped Tour and an impressive amount of attention on social media. But as we all know, quantity of followers does not guarantee quality so it’s fair to say the pressure is on for the quintet to deliver on debut full-length “A Shade of my Former Self.”
After a sombre intro of plaintive piano and mournful cello the band immediately get cracking with the anthemic ‘A Testament’ which establishes that the members have spent a large amount of time listening to the likes of Underoath and Architects, two key influences that can be felt a mile off. Thankfully, on their day both of these bands aren’t half bad, so it’s a sound that will quickly please those who like their metal filtered through bouncy hardcore rhythms and replete with some heartfelt sing-a-long choruses. Don’t forget the gang vocals of course! They introduce the muscular riffing of ‘Carte Blanche’ which cleverly manages to straddle the bridge between the melodic metalcore of the aforementioned bands and the kind of dirtier, more rocking vibe that is the Every Time I Die modus operandi. By and large, it’s a sound and approach that works pretty well.
But what makes The Charm the Fury different from the million-and-one similar bands that have followed in the wake of the mighty Killswitch Engage since the turn of the century? A good bet is vocalist Caroline Westendorp whose throaty rasps call to mind Walls of Jericho frontwoman Candace Kucsulain. She also has a clear, if rather one-dimensional melodic singing voice that is essential for the lighter moments of the bands’ sound, but it’s apparent from watching live footage of the group that Westendorp’s live presence will be their main talking point.
That’s not to write the band off however. ‘The Enemy’ features plenty of meaty breakdowns that will have all the kids hardcore-dancing (although that may not be a good thing, actually) and when the heaviness gets turned up, The Charm The Fury come into their own, as demonstrated by the jerky, vaguely djent flavoured riffs of ‘Colorblind’ featuring members of Dutch heavyweights Textures.
Although there’s a sneaking feeling that The Charm The Fury may have missed the boat somewhat, there’s certainly still room for what they do. There are far, far worse things out there than well-written, infectious metalcore, and although the over-reliance on breakdowns is a habit the band needs to iron out for their next release, “A Shade of my Former Self” will satisfy many and disappoint few. Good luck guys!