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Metallized hardcore band REACH AD hits hard with new EP “Oath Of Defiance”

REACH AD, by Matic Kutin
Oath of Defiance, the newest EP from our recent guests REACH AD, sees the band enter a new era as a band, signified in both name, style and sound. While Reach AD undoubtedly remain rooted in the hardcore they grew up listening and loving, this record does see them explore different sounds that fall outside the more straight-forward oriented hardcore traditions they stuck to in the past.

The mosh parts are still there, albeit heavier than before, as are the fast riffs that make the room spin, however, the metallic edge is a lot more prominent in the riffing, tracing it’s lineage to 90s death metal and the metallic hardcore that followed it, as well as smidges of powerviolence and sludge seamlessly woven into the tracks.

If the musical departure was significant, lyrically it is an even bigger one – the lyrics are definitely more pessimistic and negative, drawing more from Integrity than Bane.

“We play a mixture of modern hardcore with metal influences (in the vein of Incendiary, Terror, Trail Of Lies, Sunami,…)” – says the band. “This will be our fifth release and our first one since we’ve changed our name to “Reach A.D.” So far, we have released a 6-song EP, demo CD, split CD and a compilation tape – everything done in DIY fashion.”

“We spend a good amount of time touring and preforming and we have had a chance to appear alongside bands such as Terror, Backtrack, Bold, Deez Nuts, Within Destruction, Risk It, Absolve, Vlada Ina,…”

Recorded by Matic Medja, and mixed & mastered by Sava Tomić, the new EP hits the streets this week, and we;re thrilled to give you some more insights from the songwriting and lyrical perspective, through a special track by track commentary below.

REACH AD

The whole record was written during the COVID lockdowns with the members of the band exchanging ideas via the internet and sending them back and forth until rough demos started to form. Locking themselves into their practice space, they took these and reworked them into the four songs that are on the EP.

“Fueled by a case of Club Mate, the recording of the songs was done in our practice space in roughly 36 hours under the watchful eye of vocalist Matic Medja.” – comments the band.

“The pressure was on as time was limited and we pushed ourselves to both our mental and physical limits to get the best possible performance out of it. Mix and mastering duties was done by Sava Tomić, who took the tracks we had recorded and made them sound better than we could have hoped for – dirty and heavy, yet still transparent. The release would not sound the way it does without him and we cannot thank him enough.”

REACH AD upcoming shows:

17.5.Oath Of Defiance EP – Release show- Orto Bar, Ljubljana w/ Grove Street
13.8. Brutal Janez Fest – Stuk, Maribor
20.8. Vratolom Fest – Velenje
27.8. Breka Fest – Srednja Bistrica

Track by track commentary:

1. When Embers Become Flames

Embers was one of the last songs we finished and it perhaps the weirdest song on the release, as it opens with a dissonant melody before launching straight into a hard mosh part. The song twists and turns in many direction, clearly showcasing the change in lineup as the riffs on this one are a lot more angular than on previous stuff, using unsettling melodies and slow brooding parts.

The lyrics of the track are probably the best representation of the EP title – coming to terms with ones situation in life, and while the outlook remains bleak, finds a reason to push on. It is a song about acceptance of oneself, including both the good and the bad, accepting ones flaws and coming to terms with it. The hardest truths hurt the most and nobody wants to hear them, least of all yourself.

2. Fortunate Son

Fortunate Son was the song where the new sound finally really clicked for us, immediately upon it being circulated in the chat we knew we were on to something new and exciting. From the opening riff, the song is easily the hardest one on the release, providing perhaps even one-to-many mosh parts – if that is even a thing. It is the first song where we started to really experiment with some of the newer elements in the sound, such as the heavier breakdown and especially the dissonant melody found in the last part of the song.

The song mainly addresses a lot of the machismo and bullshit crew attitudes that the hardcore scene still struggles to deal with. It’s a song about someone taking advantage of a welcoming scene and exploit it for ones own gain – even if that gain is simply bolstering ones own fucking ego. There is no place for this in hardcore.

3. Cruel World [ft. Barnabás Kókai – The Southern Oracle]

Cruel World may very well be the best representation in what the mission statement of Reach AD is – heavy breakdowns, heavy mosh parts, a vicious metallic edge and a lot of moving parts to keep everything as dynamic as possible. The heavy parts differ wildly from each other, with one exploring a more beatdown sensibility, and the next one being straight 90s metalcore worship.

The track is also the darkest one on the EP, a realistic and cold outlook on the world in which we live in today, where the lives of many are meaningless when it comes to corporate gain, where we are facing the uprising and acceptance of authoritarian ideologies threatening to trample the freedoms we have, where governments use excessive force to combat any dissent raised by the people. It is an honest view of the late-capitalist world we live in.

The track is also rounded out by a vicious guest appearance by Barnabás Kókai of Budapest’s The Southern Oracle to nail the message even further.

4.  F.E.T.W.

This is the first track that was written after the last EP (More Than Us, released in in 2019) and it is probably the most traditional hardcore song on the record. Taking the previous style of writing and trying to apply a different twist to it was not an easy feat, however, in the end the song took a shape that very much works. In a way, it recalls all of the old elements we had as a band and pushes them to another level – from the heavy chunky breakdown, to the fast verse and the most epic singalong to close out the track. F.E.T.W. is an abbreviation of From East To West, which is another nice tie-in with a previous release of the band – the 2018 split with now defunct Slovenian hardcore band Laid to Rest, for which Matic sang.

On the song Sleep Tight, Matic used this exact phrase to represent the brotherhood between the bands, each coming from the literal opposites of Slovenia, Reach being from the most eastern and Laid to Rest from the most western part of the country.

While it may not be obvious on first listen, lyrically, the F.E.T.W. is a love song to hardcore and the scene that brought us up. Being a disenfranchised youth and finding the home in the rough-around-the-edges hardcore scene and remaining in it for the vast majority of your life. It is acknowledging where one comes from and embracing it, proudly stating a commitment to a movement that goes beyond the confines of race, religion or sexual orientation, that remains a source of inspiration even well into adulthood.

Metallized hardcore band REACH AD hits hard with new EP “Oath Of Defiance”
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