It used to be that the only thing about Uppsala, Sweden I routinely thought about was my good friend Andrew’s 6 months studying abroad there. There’s also this powerhouse metalcore group that emerges from this Scandinavian metropolis.
Safemode calls itself metalcore but the fact of the matter is they bring a sound fresh to the scene that has been desperately needed for some time. This is neither progressive hard rock nor the breakdown plus sung chorus/screamed verses plus recycled “chug chug chug” riffs critics routinely turn up their noses at. If “With Roots Above and Branches Below” era The Devil Wears Prada and Saosin had a baby, this might be what would result. The rough vocals aren’t particularly unique – but they work and the strength of the cleans is nearly unparalleled in the metalcore realm. I can only hope this recording reflects the band’s live show well.
The gems of the EP are the singles – “Another Day Will Haunt You” and “Gold Digger: Sam.” This band which is yet unknown in the USA (largely) has found big success on nationally syndicated RadioU with the former, which is predictably haunting. In place of a signature riff we have a piano/synth melody that will both force you to head-bang and get chilled to the bone in a way that is enjoyable…most of the time. Sometimes you need that music that is purely happy (Owl City!) and this ain’t it. “Gold Digger: Sam” is a song whose strongest point, other than the melody, is the drumming. If you want a laugh picture this – me laying in bed, watching the music video for this song on YouTube for the first time. I was tired and I was in a forlorn mood with some things weighing on my mind and I still had the urge to head-bang and kick an imaginary double-bass – while laying down. That’s the power of a good rhythm, my friends.
“Last Push” is an incredibly solid track in its own right, while “Pursuit of Fame” leaves the vocals behind for just under two minutes of synth-laced heavy rock jams.
Safemode is a band to watch. Look for them to play the US more often this year.