Road To Manila

Distance

Written by: AP on 29/12/2012 19:50:38

With the release of their "Waiting for Goddeau" EP last year, Road to Manila transitioned from one of the leading deathcore bands in Denmark into a post-hardcore/metalcore act, with Architects in particular providing much of the foundation for their sound. That EP bustled with promise, yet still contained too many relics of their heavier and more generic past to make a proper impact. On this new mini-album "Distance", Road to Manila aim to rectify such issues and cement themselves as a key player on the domestic metal scene.

That significant improvements have been made is clear from the get-go, with "Faults" showcasing almost a band reborn. Kicking off with a pacy first half of melodic hardcore, the song calms down into a slow, soothing clean passage down the middle, before the distortion guitar and Nicolai Lindegaard's coarse screaming join the frey again to produce a wonderfully melancholic crescendo. It's a solid, if not exactly innovative track that paves the way for "Distant", a very While She Sleep-esque barrage of hardcore pummel that also switches approach halfway to showcase the band's flair for atmosphere and ends with a nod toward Your Demise circa "The Kids We Used to Be".

Still, the pick of the posse here must be "Faults", which has a distinct The Carrier vibe. Riddled with uplifting melodies, it sounds larger than life, yet also urgent; and ends in a groovy, danceable fashion that is instant hit material. At this point, however, one's attention also becomes drawn to the fact that Road to Manila don't seem to have a particularly varied palette when it comes to writing songs, as with the exception of the slowly trudging "Lifted" and the instrumental "Sleep", which concludes the record, all of the songs on the album follow a basic pattern of start fast, slow down for a clean interlude, finish loud. It works because the songs have enough individual strength to be at least reasonably memorable, and because the band have cleverly chosen to place "Lifted" as track three, and "Sleep" as track five, thus providing welcome alterations of pace and tone to prevent the polarising effect of the remaining (nearly identical) four songs.

Somewhat paradoxically it is the predominant style of song on "Distance" that proves Road to Manila's strongest side, as "Lifted" in particular never manages to convey a greater purpose, and "Sleep" sounds a little forced - like an obligatory inclusion on an album of this genre. In general though, in just one year Road to Manila have outdone themselves in pretty much every aspect, coming across as a mature and talented outfit with huge potential. The band have embraced their new sound and are now in the process of perfecting it, and it will be interesting to see what comes out of their efforts on an eventual full-length.

Download: Faults, Home, 1984
For the fans of: Architects, Shaped Like Swans, While She Sleeps
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.11.2012
Self-released

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