The release of Bring Me the Horizon’s ‘That’s the Spirit’ made an obvious impact on a lot of modern metalcore bands, in terms of encouraging some non-subtle imitation, but also showing metal bands that embracing your pop side to songwriting can have a major impact on your career.
This brings us to New Jersey’s Palisades who have been adapting the gleam of pop, R ‘n’ B and electronica into chug-along metalcore since 2013’s ‘Outcasts’. The sextet have unleashed their most streamlined effort on their self-titled album, reflecting the motivation for more heavy bands to reach out to music fans that don’t spend their lives pitting.
This seems like a blessing for Palisades, as they demonstrate across 11 tracks that they can write undeniable hooks. Opener ‘Aggression’ shows this off as it’s stratospheric chorus packs dollops of bounce and easy vocal melodies, and it soon becomes clear that writing anthems instead of sick breakdowns is their primary concern here. Throughout the album you can find earworms that owe their infectious refrains to the sway of modern pop music. ‘Let Down’ and ‘Fall’ are delivered with a swagger and hushed sentimentality that has been present in the Top 40 since Justin Bieber dropped ‘Purpose’ in 2015.
However, this emphasis on pop makes ‘Palisades’ a spectacularly unremarkable album musically. ‘Through Hell’ is one of the only songs that makes riffs its driving force, but generally, keyboard player Graves has the most creative role while everyone else plays around him.
With good promotion, Palisades could follow BMTH onto daytime radio. But there’s a difference between a band being catchy and being genuinely mind-blowing, and it’s difficult to see how they stand out in a sea of imitators.
‘Palisades’ by Palisades is released on 20th January on Rise Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)