Album Review: The Five Hundred – A World On Fire

28 Jul, 2021

Nottingham’s metalcore five-piece, The Five Hundred, are set to release A World On Fire, this Friday. Their latest album expands upon its well-received predecessor, Bleed Red, which captivated metal listeners with its 8-string, Meshuggah-inspired djent grooves, soaring lead melodies, and gripping vocals.

A World On Fire continues that legacy with a plethora of earth-shattering breakdowns, pounding drums, and haunting vocals, delivering lots of raw emotion from vocalist John Woods-Ely who manages to seamlessly change between harsh throat-shredding vocals and sublime cleans. This all goes a long way in opening up each song, adding more dynamic range, and keeping us engaged. You might be fooled into thinking these are all the classic metalcore tropes, but after hearing the torrent of intricate, yet captivating, guitar work from Mark Byrne and Paul Doughty you’ll realise they hold their own place in the genre.

The first single, ‘Black Dogs’, released back in May 2020, focused on how anxiety, depression, and paranoia plagues society; fitting themes for the COVID-19 pandemic. The down-tuned riffs add extra punch while still maintaining the melodic aspects we’ve come to love from this band.

‘The Rising Tide’ best demonstrates the theme of the album, highlighting climate change and the impact of environmental devastation of ecosystems, human and animal life. Guitarist Mark Byrne has passionately discussed these issues, the state of the world today, and how the pandemic is just the start of the end, “Life as we know it, will not be the same, and we are just letting it play out in front of our very own eyes”.

In keeping with that theme, ‘Our Demise’ delivers an anthemic chorus that is momentous and unstoppable, the melody throughout, combined with guttural vocals, conjures up unforgiving images of natural disasters. Similarly, ‘Agony’ kicks off with cascading heavy guitar riffs, as vivid as typhoons, the passionate lyrics in the verses adding a very emotional element. 

‘With Scars’ destroys earphones with an immediate onslaught of riffs and, along with all the melodic harmonies and djent-inspired guitar passages, creates a thrilling ride for the listener before ending in a heartfelt piano outro. Similarly,’ Our Curse’ features a multitude of savage riffs and blast beats, along with some lovely melodic vocal harmonies in the chorus, that really make this track huge and a favourite on the album.

Another standout on the album is ‘The Warmth’, a non-stop adrenaline ride, delivering some of the most devastating and filthy riffs and breakdowns (we can already picture the circle pits). 

It was also nice to see the band getting guest features to help draw in more attention. ‘Walls of Jericho’ features Andreas Bjulver of Cabal and following on the track ‘Your Apocalypse’ features Jeremy Gomez of Red Method who cuts through with some brutal low growls. 

The Five Hundred are showcasing their best work here, with each member demonstrating technical proficiency that’s driving them to become a well-rounded and respected band within the new wave of modern British heavy metal bands. 

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