Botfly's 'Lower Than Love' Taps into the Softer Side of Cathartic Hardcore
Published Nov 25, 2021At long last, Botfly have release the follow-up to 2018's Dark Days. Following similar influences as their debut record, Lower Than Love sees a matured hardcore band tackle topics of depression, loss and heartbreak. While the subject matter remains similar to their debut, the manner with which these ideas are executed are more heartfelt and honest than ever. Lower than Love is an ode to the emotions that accompany loss, and everything else that comes with it.
Even though Lower Than Love is a bit of a sonic departure for the band, there are still plenty of riffs that will satisfy older fans."Life as a 9-5" plays out as a tribute to the Chariot, as the whole things revolves around one breakdown being reimagined. Heaviness is also achieved in other manners: "Déjà Vu" features some of the beefiest bass lines in Botfly's catalogue, while "Reflect//Reject" is stuffed with ascending riffs.
The album's highlight, riff-wise, is "Cowards," which starts out with some of Botfly's most technical guitar work and then dissolves into a Bison-inspired "Fear Cave" breakdown at the end. When it comes to heavy moments on the album, Botfly have assembled Lower Than Love around these riffs for the ultimate cathartic response.
But even more than the heavy riffs, the best part of Lower Than Love is how Botfly embrace quieter atmospheric moments. While their debut record struggled to pull these dynamics together, Lower Than Love excels in these moments. Songs like "Lower Than Love" and "Intermittent Depression" highlight these stripped-down passages that create a vulnerability seldom heard from hardcore bands. By borrowing from Alexisonfire's Watch Out! playbook, Botfly deliver candid and emotional payoffs that separate them from many of their hardcore contemporaries.
Lower Than Love is a successful dip into the unknown for Botfly. These songs feel honest and egoless, opening endless possibilities for the band going forward. (No Funeral Records)