The Banner

Greying

The BannerGreying
7
"It never gets better," howls the Banner vocalist Joey Southside in "Circle of Salt." It's not just what he's saying, but also how he's saying it: in a desperate shout, like a wolf howling at the moon. Furthering the darker turn taken on 2008's Frailty, Greying is hardly an appropriate title for this LP, as it's consistently closer to black, with nary a shade of white.

The eldritch, sample-laden opener gives a glimpse into the scattered minds of its creators, while the rest of the album takes you on a journey through their "Crippling Despair." For the most part, their metallic hardcore gruffness is cloaked in goth leanings and frosted over by varying degrees of black metal. Outliers include the Peter Steele-crooned starting and ending of "Send Me Down," a Type O Negative influence that bleeds into the full-on gothic "Sunlight," which is ironically one of the darkest on the album.

These subtleties are what differentiate the Banner and newer bands they now find themselves peers with, but where they really shine is when they weave those subtleties between breakdowns and blast beats. Although Greying might be a difficult listen, that's not a weakness; in a sea of easy listening hardcore, it's the Banner's greatest strength. (Good Fight)
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