Song Review: Briarcliff – “Rogue”

Song Review: Briarcliff –  “Rogue”

Song: Rogue
Band/Artist: Briarcliff
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Date of Release: 14 Dec 2014
Genre: Deathcore
Reviewer: Dead Set Dave
For Fans Of: Cavalera Conspiracy
Why They Aren’t Famous: Because the world is an unjust place

Fuck yes. This is what I’m talking about. You wanna be in a metal band? Then fucking be more like these motherfuckers. From the get go there is an assault to the senses. It’s like being punched in the face by a car bomb. Ever crashed a motor bike and smashed face first into the ground? I have, and that’s what this song feels like. It’s a good thing.

Heavy music has changed dramatically over the last decade. With more and more bands turning to a commercially viable sound, there is a distinct lack of energy in the scene. Sure, the mainstays still exist and keep producing great music. Fear Factory, Cavalera Conspiracy and so on are making music that reminds us of why we liked them so much in the first place, but it is rarely echoed in the bands that were so heavily influenced by them. Too much auto-tuned melodics, sample heavy interludes and far too much focus on image instead of making great music.

Briarcliff shatter that trend. They take it out back, pull out its eyes and skull fuck it to death (as Sands would say). This song is everything that is right about death metal. The drums are dynamic and interesting, although possibly playing it a little safe, they drive the entire song. Kiri’s fills are fucking excellent, and really connect with the vocal phrasing in a beautiful way.

The guitars are equally as impressive. My only criticism was that they ended with the glitch breakdown, rather than the excellent shredding that prevails during the most-part of the song. But technically, they are perfection. Skipping from speed to stops, melodic to dissonant with a grace rarely found this side of 2001.

The vocalist, Jake DiStefano, has a huge voice, but that’s not really what shines through. It’s his use of punctuated phrasing that gives this song its balls. It’s something I say over and over again, your voice is an instrument. You have to treat it as such, and fuck me if Jake doesn’t deliver on that. Vocal triplets, double notes to 16th; he really mixes it up, especially making use of various techniques – gutturals, shrieks and fearsome growls. It’s perfect.

Now, aside from that I don’t think the lyrics are great. They feel a little contrived, a bit cliché. I know it’s hard to critique lyrics, they are personal and everyone has their own style but I feel that these didn’t make it past a second draft stage or something. There’s times where the poetry takes precedence over language, and that sucks. It makes it all seem a little immature, you know, like the poetry or lyrics you write when you’re younger. Don’t get me wrong, they have some awesome moments, and I’m really nit-picking here, but it’s the difference between a good song, and a great song. Whatever thought, right?

Again, this is another song that suffers from missing bass player. It’s kicked a little too far back in the mix to shine through. This is another trend with music of late, but it’s a pop-sensibility that needs to go and fuck itself. I wanna hear the bass player, let that shit fucking stomp man. Anyway, with my headphones on I can get a picture of what’s going on and it’s pretty great. I just wish it was a little more present.

While I’m on the subject of production values, can we stop with the lyric videos? Or at least stop with the “everything is fucking shaking” thing? We get it, the music is heavy. We don’t need to see the lyrics through the lens of a Paul Greengrass epileptic fit. There’s got to be another way, fuck. It’s just that thing of doing the same old shit that every fucking band has done. But whatever, you gotta do something I guess.

At the end of the day, this band is fucking incredible. Go and watch them play a show, by some merch and rock the fuck out. If you don’t, you’re a complete pussy.

Vocals: 10/10
Guitars: 10/10
Bass: 7/10 (blame the engineer)
Drums: 10/10
Production: 8/10
Lyrics: 7/10
Songwriting: 8/10
Overall IPHYB Rating: 9/10
Personal Enjoyment Factor:10/10

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Song Review: Briarcliff – “Rogue”
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