January 14th, 2014
Release length: 11:50
Common Ground shares traits with many established Metalcore acts, most notable As I Lay Dying and Lamb of God. “Bottom Feeder” is the perfect example of this. Outside the slower, melodic chorus with layered clean singing, most of the performance has a chugging groove and harsher higher pitched screaming that is all backed nicely by the sleek audio quality and moderate bass presence. Admittedly, the slower passage before and including the one-chord breakdown seems a bit overkill and unnecessary to the song’s conclusion. “Dear Dad” relieas heavily on the raspier vocals and cymbils to fill the largely empty main verses thanks to the short breakdown-style guitars that exist. This actually works for what the band is going for, building tension to a chorus that steps into the Melodic Death Metal territory at times with some emotional hooks that carries on throughout the performance.
Finally there’s “Serenity,” which has a little more complexity and enthusiasm to it that keeps the Melodic Death Metal sensation alive, especially in the highly addicting chorus that adds the screaming over the established clean singing approach, showing a little more variety than your every day “scream the verse, sing the chorus” Metalcore mentality that the previous two tracks seem to be a foreboding sign of. The emotional bit around two-and-a-half minutes works, but at the same time sounds a little out of place in that it sounds like a suddenly forced bit of Bullet for my Valentine influence that, like the slower bit before the breakdown on “Bottom Feeder,” just doesn’t really need to exist.
For a relatively new band, Common Ground does show a good deal of development in a short amount of time, and showcases Kingdom Collapse‘s ability to weave some really awe-inspiring melodies. But there is one thing that this EP shows that they can still work on, and it’s the ending of their songs. Both “Bottom Feeder” and “Serenity” felt like they had conclusions, or builds towards it, that were tacked on and in no way necessary other than to extend the life of a song that had already ended perfectly a passage or two ago. While still a bit rough around the edges, Common Ground is an impressive debut from this Texas five-piece that undoubtedly will find themselves signed with some of the big boys of the Metalcore field sooner than later.
01. Bottom Feeder – 4:22
02. Dear Dad – 3:49
03. Serenity – 3:39
|Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10