In an already heavily saturated post hardcore scene, Portsmouth five piece PROVOKER are looking to carve out a fan base with their debut EP, The Long Defeat, a solid, if not quite groundbreaking first effort.
With groups such as ARCHITECTS receiving such acclaim within the genre, it’s no wonder so many new groups attempt to capitalise on the popularity, often successfully. The Long Defeat is perfect example of this, it does exactly what you’d expect from a post hardcore release, and it does it well, with vocalist Angus Roberton providing heavy screams and particularly catchy clean choruses, laid over the guitar work of Joe Spratt and Ollie Soundy.
Though a perfectly well made record, its lack of unique character that works against the group. The Long Defeat is an enjoyable release, but could be attributed to a wealth of other bands throughout the genre, making it that much harder to set themselves apart and really make a dent on the scene.
The opening track, and also the lead single, Admission, is actually one of the weaker songs to feature on the EP, with the combination of riffs perhaps a little too eclectic for any to really sink in and be remembered a little more fondly. It’s clear of the goal with the changes in tempo designed to instigate crowd movement, however the catchier styles of tracks such as Solitary and Adopt Adapt are where the bands strengths truly lie.
Vocally, and within song structure there are similarities to NAPOLEON’s excellent Newborn Mind album, albeit without the technical edge to the instrumentation, instead focusing on a more raw, aggressive sound, leaning more to the side of modern hardcore as opposed to the metalcore or tech metal genres.
Solitary, the second song on the EP is arguably the strongest, with the dual vocals featured in the chorus likely to create a singalong atmosphere for live performances. Ringing lead guitar notes contrast well with the heavy, chugging riffs throughout the verse and build to an effective climax to the song through its repetition. The songs ending would serve as a fitting finale to the EP, a job which is assigned instead to Empty, a song that actually bares some punk influence, with resemblance to some early GALLOWS work within the instrumental side.
The Long Defeat is not a bad release by any means, there’s a lot of potential there and a lot of quality on show. Potential is the key word however, each musician clearly has the talent to make the group a long term success, what’s missing however is any unique defining factor. PROVOKER show some strong signs, but really finding their own sound will be the difference between one of the UK’s rising stars, or just another post hardcore band.
The Long Defeat is set for release on March 6 via self-release.
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