Progressive metalcore is one of the most underappreciated genres in existence.
It stems from the fact that we may not always understand what constitutes as a “good” progressive metalcore album. To achieve this goal, a band has to write a body of music that is technically impressive, emotive, and still maintains an earth-shaking heaviness that will have listeners head-banging along with it endlessly. They have to introduce new ideas of how a song or songs can be all these things, and do so with aplomb.
On all accounts, Borderland’s album Voice Of The Voiceless delivers.
These proggy Portuguese gentlemen craft a near-perfect marriage of metalcore and progressive metal, one that takes cues from the best bands on either side of that spectrum and bends it to their will. Borderlands feels like they’re treading ground few have before, and they’re doing so with supreme conviction.
Comprised of vocalist Rui Martins, guitarists Yuri José and Hugo Capelo, drummer Cristóvão "Kiki" Monteiro, and bassist Gonçalo Beco has been bringing their musical chops to the masses since August 2012. Their first release, the Awaken Dreamers EP, was released November of that year. It stands as an important part of their career, for though it may be somewhat rougher production-wise and solidly reliant on chugging (which they still manage to do inventively), the band is already developing their voice as musicians. Since then, Borderlands has released two singles that stand as field updates on the band’s progress.
Voice Of The Voiceless Track List:
2. Children Of The Storm
3. Release Yourself
7. Voice Of The Voiceless
8. The Curse
9. Children Of The Sun
Now almost three and a half years later, Voice Of The Voiceless comes out with a disturbing intensity, one of bassy frequencies that builds up the suspense of the intro’s impending heaviness. This leads into “Children Of The Storm”, which starts out with an aggressive Within The Ruins-esque intro, dropping down into some Acacia Strain territory, followed by an urgently emotional riffy feels fest worthy of Misery Signals. They then channel Parkway Drive in a jog through the moshpit, followed by a breakdown straight out of the book of Whitechapel circa This Is Exile.
I am not simply pointing these things out as a way to reprimand the band for copying these other musicians. Rather, this should paint a clear and colorful picture of how many twists and turns a Borderlands song can take. It is actually exciting to hear what this band has in store, and more intricacies stand out with each listen. You can never really tell where one of their songs will go, only that it will be a beautifully belligerent gallop through a sea of overlapping riffs and melodies.
Songs like “Release Yourself”, “Lineage”, and “Essencia” hit very emotional highs, whereas “Limitless” and the album’s title track pull the listener into the fullness of heart-throbbing lows. Interestingly enough, the last two songs manage to hit both these levels, albeit at different paces. Whereas “The Curse” sinks through the depths of enigmatic and passionate darkness, “Children Of The Sun” is a recharging rocket-blast back up through the same depths with a new brilliance, and at a hastened pace, which ends in a poignant finale.
Throughout the course album, it becomes obvious that these guys have a chemistry that will carry them far. In guitarists José and Capelo’s able hands, each song takes on a life of its own, and Rui Martin’s versatile vocal delivery is able to instill fear and inspire anguish. Equally are essential are bassist Beco and drummer Monteiro, who make up the intense rhythmic underbelly of Borderlands. Every single musician is on their A-game, and it shows through in every single song.
For all intents and purposes, this album is Hook Approved.
Definitely take a moment to follow these guys on social media if you haven’t already. Following an album like this, they’ll surely be busy.