With many US bands choosing to prefer to tour the UK rather than the rest of Europe, the United Kingdom have become a hardcore mecca for its dynamic scenes and its bands. In recent years, Blind Authority, xRepentancex, Renounced or Higher Power have gathered the attention of fans all over Europe and of the world by bringing back different sounds to the forefront of the scene and doing it with talent. Rough Hands is joining the front runners with ease thanks to a sound recalling the London’s Last Witness, sadly broken up since 2013, but with a less metallic edge.
Whereas heaviness is the key word for the American hardcore scene (Code Orange, Harm’s Way, Xibalba…), Rough Hands have chosen a less bass-heavy sound recalling a more modern take on Poison the Well‘s sound. The high pitched vocals are a perfect match for this sound made to slice through concrete.
If I’m not mistaken by the face on the band’s member picture, they probably grew up listening to nu metal before finding out about heavier bands. Rather than reacting against this part of their musical upbringing, Rough Hands do include some nu metalism in their songs without losing their hardcore edge. Just like Strife who had Deftone‘s Chino Moreno has a guest or Vision of Disorder who constantly professed their love for Korn‘s early records and included their influence expertly (yes, even on From bliss to devastation, this album is excellent), Rough Hands put some melodic vocals and more ambient melodies on Swim in the blues to add diversity to their repertoire. Leaving my will also manages to recall the Deftones and Korn without any cringeworthy cliché. A very impressive feat for someone like me who grew out of the nu-metal sound to hate all it’s mannerism (except for Deftones).
What Rough Hands took away from this angst-fueled music is how to translate angst in music. The drums explore a variety of pattern without losing any energy (Mind at large). The riffs have far more to say than to stomp along with the drums thanks to a melodic and aggressive edge influenced by the sound of early releases on Trustkill records. In short, Rough Hands manages to bridge the gap between the true and the untrue. The kind of release that could win over even the most hardened purist.