Boundaries – Death is Little More (3DOT Recordings)

Friday, 5th April 2024
Rating: 9/10

Connecticut-based metalcore act Boundaries have had two previous full-length efforts under their belts, but it seems the best was yet to come in their case. Their third album, Death is Little More, the group takes some influence and nods from the early heavy-hitters of the scene and injects a bleak and aggressive modern twist that puts them into more unsettling and dark waters than many of their current peers. In short, the type of effort that should bring in those who have been teetering on the edge fully into the fold, as well as serve as a launching point for newcomers.

Starting full-tilt and showing the listener what to expect with “Turning Hate into Rage,” that sort of eerie and abrasive sound hits hard. While you can certainly pick up some of the band’s influences from the early 2000’s days (like Killswitch or As I Lay Dying), there’s an undeniably modern metal injection that gives the band a more abrasive feeling to their sound. “Darkness Shared” captures this dynamic quite well, with the rumbling, breakdown-friendly waters and frantic riffs giving the band plenty of steam to run off when they leave for a departure into some clean melodies and singing for a few moments. But it doesn’t come across as the cliched variety, only using them when the song necessitates their presence, and it doesn’t keep the ending of “Darkness Shared” from being an all-out rager. Something that transitioning beautifully into the album’s most caustic moment, a brief song called “Like Petals from a Stem,” which feels more rooted in grindcore with its intensity, if not for the earthshaking breakdown (amid corrosive screaming) in the track’s second half. “Scars on a Soul” hit with a genuine unhinged urgency to the guitarwork, and Matt McDougal’s menacing screams/roars it with a massive bout of despair and desperation – even as the track moves into some more melodic moments. “Blood Soaked Salvation” swirls in chaos and screams, pulsating between blasting drums, eerie riffs, and hulking grooves. Moving from these explosive moments into something equally bleak yet atmospheric, some songs like “Easily Erased” and “Cursed to Remember” gravitate towards the more melodic side yet surprise with some impressively brutal moments and satisfying breakdowns and shifts in the melodies into almost melancholic territory. “A Pale Light Lingers” hits this gloomy mark quite well, allowing the breathing room for some airy melodies amid some crushing breakdown energy that still somehow feels dark and soul-swallowing than just a blunt instrument.

Death is Little More is easily the strongest metalcore release that has come across the speakers so far. It pays some homage to the roots of the genre, while injecting it with a more insidious and gloomy undertone that takes it into more exciting and promising directions. It’s uncompromisingly heavy and brutal, yet still absorbing and memorable with future listens. It’s an effective combination that should draw the band quite a few admiring eyes and ears as they continue forward from this point.

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