Although they formed just over a year ago, Anxious Hands‘ roots lay in New England music scene with its members playing in various bands beforehand. Nevertheless, the quintet have now come together and recently unleashed their debut EP, ‘Dissociate’.
Its five songs offer a well-balanced mix of soaring melodies alongside some fine hardcore riffs and plenty of angst. Ultimately, it ticks all the boxes of what’s required from a promising hardcore band with assured delivery. While their origins are firmly in New England, Anxious Hands‘ influences lie further afield.
To learn more about the bands that have inspired them, we asked the Maine-based five-some to select six standout records. Their picks go from Canadian hardcore to prog metal to classic metalcore, all the way to a globe-conquering debut.
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Counterparts – Tragedy Will Find Us
Tyler (Bilodeau – drums): When I first heard this album a few years back, it completely changed the way I thought about writing music. The way the songs are structured and composed, coupled with the masterful production of Will Putney make this one of my favourite albums. Songs like ‘Collapse’, ‘Withdrawal’, ‘Stranger’, and ‘Tragedy’ all stand out to me as some of Counterparts’ best material.
Jesse Doreen, their former lead guitarist and my all-time favourite guitarist, inspired me greatly knowing that he essentially wrote this entire album by himself. This pushed me to always be a perfectionist and write the best-quality songs I can.
ERRA – Augment
Saoirse (Hitz – guitar/vocals): An album that really inspires my playing and vocals on this album is ‘Augment’ by ERRA. Jesse (Cash)’s vocals inspired me to go for a much clearer sound in Anxious Hands and helped me learn how to use my voice in a way that I’ve become very happy with. The melodic style of the lead guitars on that album shaped my approach toward writing and playing for this album. In short, ‘Augment’ helped me learn and work towards how I wanted to sound on this album and with Anxious Hands.
Periphery – Periphery III: Select Difficulty
Teagan (Stritch – bass): Periphery’s third album, ‘Select Difficultly’, was a major influence both personally and musically. Personally, the album reminded me of the insane and beautiful things we as musicians can create. Musically, it showed me what a bass tone could and should sound like. Thus, it pushed me to research and make my sound my own.
Silent Planet – The Night God Slept
Zach (DeFosse – guitar): This is an incredibly-written album that is very hard-hitting, and it stands out from a lot of metalcore albums I come across. It poses a powerful dichotomy between aggressive riffs with screaming vocals and ambient breaks with subtle, melodic touches. Instrumentally, the band puts a strong emphasis on interesting, unique, and engaging rhythms. As a guitarist, I find myself continuously inspired by Silent Planet in this way, as I often focus on the rhythms of certain parts before even concerning myself with the notes.
Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory
Trevor (Laliberte – vocals): This album was so important to me both lyrically and vocally. Chester Bennington’s voice was a huge inspiration to my vocal style. Additionally, the way he wrote such personal lyrics that were still relatable is something that I try to do in all of our songs. These songs still hold up so well today, and it is definitely an album I still jam fairly often.
Killswitch Engage – As Daylight Dies
Tyler: This album was one of the first true metalcore albums I heard. What stood out to me was how the band was able to seamlessly transition from heavy, distorted riffs to beautiful clean sections. Howard Jones’ clean vocals have always been a favourite of mine, and the production and sound of the album still holds up today 13 years later.
‘Dissociate’ EP by Anxious Hands is out now.