Since spawning from the depths of Woking, Surrey back in 2011, Palm Reader have been terrorising stages both in the UK’s toilet circuit to festival stages across Europe with a mixture of complex songwriting and pure aggression. Refining their craft over the past seven years, the result of these efforts is their soon to be released third record Braille.
Opening track ‘Swarm’ kicks off proceedings straight away, sounding like Hot Damn era Every Time I Die, it's the type of angular riffing that sounds like it's taken straight off the Converge songwriting handbook, infused with modern day metalcore. It’s becoming very apparent that these guys are incredibly competent musicians; especially when the technical aspects of the songwriting are given time to shine.
Once tracks like ‘Internal Winter’ and ‘Like a Wave’ start their swing, Braille really starts running at full speed. These tracks pretty much scissor kick you in the face with blind rage. Clean sung vocals soar across technical riffs you’d find in abundance in a Norma Jean record, only done better in this instance.
Slower, more atmospheric moments come in the form of ‘Inertia’ and following interludes ‘Breach and ‘Dorothy’, where the focus is switched from hyper-aggressive riffs to more post-metal-esqe territories reminiscent of UK stalwarts Devil Sold his Soul, showing more to Palm Reader than what the band have previously showcased. Whilst there is an evident loss in momentum here compared to the ragers that precede them, Palm Reader pull the atmospherics off with ease and finesse.
Sadly Palm Reader don't shy away from turning to common Metalcore tropes throughout Braille, such as on tracks like ‘Clockwork’. Earlier moments on the album have slight skirmishes with these moments; but they are conveyed in Palm Reader's own unique style; angrier, refreshing, not played out. This is just bog standard metalcore we’ve heard all a thousand times before.
Thankfully ‘Coalesce’ and 'The Turn' are sharp returns to form. Combining both raging metalcore with the aforementioned soaring atmospherics teased on earlier interludes, backed up with some riffs packed with so much groove, you’d be fooled into thinking they’ve gone all Meshuggah on you for a split second.
Despite the losses in strength and momentum, Braille is a very solid, well written and thought out record. Its strengths far outweigh the negative aspects throughout its run time. A solid addition to a burgeoning UK scene that’s going from strength to strength, with Palm Reader being further evidence of this.
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