The side of your brain starts throbbing as ambient sounds come in. Feeling slightly confused and completely okay with it, it’s a pretty good price to pay. Behold the Messenger is an ambient hardcore five-piece band from Columbia, South Carolina.
Unsigned, underplayed, and unknown- it feels like a catastrophe. I know what you’re thinking: “Billions of small unsigned hardcore bands fill up equally small unknown hardcore venues. It’s a way of life for young hardcore kids as well as being dejected/vegan/politically misinformed. Why are these guys any different?”
Grow & Change EP is aggressive, pithy, and littered with feedback (so good I challenge you to listen to it, or download it for free here). While screams and chugs are contrasted with singing in “In Solidarity,” vocalist Hayden Graham yells, “It’s heartbreaking to see generations buy in/ It leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth/ Feeding off lies and misinformation like a rat in a cage.” But they aren’t one of those hardcore bands. No, no.
It’s more like brutality and vulgarity that “those we shall not name here” bands aren’t fond of. The title track, “Grow & Change” has an ambient drone casting over most of the song until screams finish out the latter half, seamlessly blending into “Past & Present.”
So guess who isn’t that nice with lyrics like this: “Must I be tested daily to show how much I’ve gained?/ Why the fuck am I constantly tested/…I know you can see the red past on my hands/ Can you see what these hands built since then?”
The last few songs push boundaries with abrupt endings, metal riffs, and fading or out. It’s patient like Fugazi, bold like Cro-Mags and as adventurous as Thursday’s No Devolución. The lyrical masterpiece is in “Headway” with “Where can I make my home?/ Where can I make my peace?/ I do not believe this empire represents the true potential of you, of me, or of us.” Classy.
The only feasible complaint is the backup vocals at times sound pitchy like a child. Think more like that blonde douche from All Time Low and less like Anthony Green. In no way should that stop you from listening to Behold the Messenger however.
After a minute of some interesting guitar loops in “Detrimental” the last words are “don’t you fucking test me.” Fine, okay, okay. Now is that to us or to that overweight dude in camouflage shorts looking to ruin it?