You may not have heard of Once Almost Never, a five piece metalcore group from Perth, Western Australia, but after dropping their mini album, Escape Velocity, that should rapidly change.
The group have dubbed their style of music “Spacecore.” Essentially, its heavy metal which combines elements of hardcore sprinkled with melodic tinges throughout, think Northlane and a super heavy 30 Seconds To Mars or Angels and Airwaves and you’d be on the right track. Maybe.
Whatever the style is called or labelled, it may not be the most original sound you have heard this decade, but what’s on offer sounds fresh and full of energy, and that’s the main thing. The seven track mini album opens up with “Life” an atmospheric track that features a cool sample of what sounds like an astronaut announcing lift off before launching into a wall of sound courtesy of guitarist/ clean vocalist Ashton Bell, Guitarist Emerson Day, Bassist Patrick de Rooy and Drummer Conor Richards.
From there on out it’s a barrage of metal styles, the next track “Sub- Orbital Tendencies” introduces us to Lead vocalist/Screamer Jordan Hood, he growls and screams his lungs out over a blistering mid tempo bass drum and open chord attack before Bell takes over for a melodic clean chorus.
In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of screamo vocals, and Hood’s growls and screams haven’t convinced me to like it anymore than I do, but the mix of clean and raw vocals complement each other well enough on the album throughout without either style overstaying their welcome. This can be said of the album itself; no songs reach 4 minutes, so every track feels urgent and intense but without sounding as if something was missing.
This juxtaposition is most evident in the main single “”85ft” Featuring great guitar harmonies, a pounding rhythm and a tone that walks the line between metal and melodic, which is exactly what Once Almost Never are trying to accomplish.
A standout track is the final song on the album “Aurora” which features an incredibly tasty thirty second note syncopated bass drum rhythm and an excellent soaring clean chorus which hammers home the “Spacecore” feeling, before dropping the tempo down while revisiting the sampling from the first track, bringing the mini album full circle and giving the whole thing a cool sense of cohesion.
All in all, Once Almost Never have produced a slick, technically proficient mini album, that has enough cool ideas throughout to sound fresh and exciting. The album is sure to further cement them as a band to keep an eye on, and if they can maintain this level of quality throughout further releases, the universe could safely be within their grasp.