By Justin Allec
Diminished responsibility plus heavy music equals a good time, so Bring Forth the Ocean (BFTO) were giving everyone what they wanted at Black Pirates Pub on Wednesday, July 30, with this all-ages show dedicated to the release their debut EP, Where Wolves Prey. Throughout the night the anticipation of the crowd was palpable and only marginally due to an obvious family presence – it wasn’t just the kids representing in brand-spanking new BFTO t-shirts that were ready to go nuts for this band. Since earning accolades from TBShows People’s Choice Poll in 2013, BFTO have been pushing towards tonight, an important step in moving from basement practice spaces to beyond the local scene.
Real life makes it tough to get to BPP in time for opener John Daniels, but nevermind, there’s been a healthy crowd here since the doors opened. The place is packed by the time that second-billed (and self-professed geezers of the night) Slavestate, start up. Recently expanded to a five-piece with a dedicated singer, Slavestate has a new sense of swagger. Their sludgy death metal has always plowed audiences with the delicacy of a bulldozer, only now it’s a bulldozer doing wheelies.
Though they made their stage debut in early 2012, it seems this is the first show The Unbalanced has ever played. The sense of doe-eyed wonder at being on stage seemed to catch up with these kids between songs as they realized that yes, everyone was watching them rock out. Songs are entirely instrumental and mostly made up of overly down-tuned chords and spacey fretboard antics. This means that eventually their songs blended into one long rhythm of bass-heavy chugging, but the crowd showed appreciation by banging heads throughout.
BFTO took the stage and proceeded to own it – this was their night, and they wanted everyone to know it. Meeting at the crossroads of metalcore and screamo, BFTO lean towards the heavier end of these genres: vocals are outraged rather than pitying, and the guitars know how to bludgeon rather than coddle. They use staccato guitar lines and cathartic bass breakdowns as their primary tools, but BFTO use them in service of the songs instead of genre markers.
Rather than the hot mess of hardcore riffs and left-turning song segments awash in studio keyboards that this style is usually known for, BFTO focus more on the weighty musical substance behind their emotive lyrics. It pays off in some actual songs, where the balance between what’s delicately sung and strummed naturally moves (or explodes) into a mosh-worthy climax. Add in an honest degree of passion, and you have a band that, young as they may be, clearly know what they want – to have their lyrics on people’s lips and their sounds in people’s hearts. With the release of Where Wolves Prey, they can feel proud about taking first steps.
Bring Forth the Ocean’s EP Where Wolves Prey is available now through HMV, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and their Facebook page.