Recommended tracks: “Too Late”, “Guiding Light”, “Better Way Out”
Artists you may like: Savage Hands, Holding Absence, Wind Walkers
Leeds-based metal band, Caskets, (Matt Flood, Chris McIntosh, Benji Wilson, James Lazenby, and Craig Robinson) released their sophomore album Reflections on August 11th via SharpTone Records and we are here for it! Their first album, Lost Souls, was released almost exactly two years ago.
Where Lost Souls saw the band finding their footing in the metalcore scene, Reflections cements their place. It largely explores the struggles of the band as a whole, looking back at their past with a wise, honest, and vulnerable eye. Caskets doesn’t shy away from deeply emotional topics; in fact, they meet them head on with heavy guitar riffs, catchy vocal rhythms, and a tangible sliver of hope in each and every track.
They kick things off with “Believe”, and the track serves as the perfect hook to draw the listener in. Lead singer Matt Flood’s prime vocals are on display within the first 30 seconds. Backed up by a dynamic guitar, fast-paced drums, and some vocal effects, Flood’s delivery shines and will immediately make you want to sing along. The song addresses the need to recognize your worth and let go of negativity in order to move forward, themes that will be present throughout the album.
The album’s lead single, “More than Misery” featuring The Word Alive’s Telle Smith, keeps the energy going. Addressing the need to break out of a toxic situation, this song reminds us that our lives are quite literally “worth more than misery”. With the lyric “into the unknown”, listeners wanting to take that leap will find solace and encouragement in this profoundly relatable track.
We’re plunged into another fast-paced song with the hit of the drums in “In the Silence”. Seamlessly switching between tempos, this track showcases the instrumental talent of the band. The following “Too Late” kicks off with some unexpected electronica elements and a catchy vocal hook. This is perhaps one of the most unique and experimental songs on the album as it plays with low, distorted vocals and electronic effects. The universal theme of needing to live life to the fullest before time gets away from us prevails, driven home by gang vocals towards the end.
On “By the Sound”, Flood’s impeccable vocal talent is on display as he delivers the impassioned lyrics, and that’s certainly a highlight. Another of the album’s singles, this track is incredibly catchy. It might be a breakup song, but Caskets has given it their own personal twist. The chorus that hits after the bridge is particularly epic and will be a treat to hear live.
The strength and sheer power present on “Six Feet Down” both vocally and instrumentally will appeal to metalcore purists who may have been put off by the electronics on the previous songs. “Silhouettes”, though, slows things down a bit. This song addresses the pain of feeling invisible. Flood’s somewhat distorted vocals deliver the emotional message over a dreamy soundscape until the cinematic chorus hits. Building to an emotional ending before fading out, “Silhouettes” stands out as Caskets’ version of a ballad. It can sometimes be hard for metal bands to slow things down without losing their sense of identity, but Caskets has pulled this off perfectly.
“Guiding Light” is arguably one of the best tracks on the album. Starting with a dark instrumental backing up Flood’s energetic vocal intro, the song cascades beautifully between the powerful chorus and flowing, memorable verses. With an incredible guitar solo breaking up the bridge before Flood’s raw vocals take over, this song brings us up and takes us back down again in the best way. In “Hate Me”, the contrast between the heavy breakdowns and the relatively minimalistic verses mirrors the push and pull of emotions that comes with the end of a toxic relationship.
“Better Way Out” is the perfect end to a killer album. While many of the tracks on Reflections deal with darker emotions, there’s always a glimpse of hope in each one. In “Better Way Out”, however, that hope takes center stage. This emotional track makes it clear that Caskets is out here trying to help people with their music and relate to listeners by being vulnerable about their own experiences. The song addresses the idea of saving a loved one from suicide and encourages listeners to always find a better way out. The stunning vocals, supporting drums, and catchy guitar riffs along with the powerful message make this a must-listen.
Reflections is a strong album all the way through. Fans of traditional metal may be put off by the electronic elements, but we believe they bring a unique and distinguishing twist to the album, especially as they’re so well incorporated throughout. The hopeful message, the amazing vocals, the heavy breakdowns, the electronic elements, and the creative experimentation prove that Caskets really can do it all. This band clearly has a bright future ahead of them and while we can’t wait to see what comes next, we’re ecstatic to be able to headbang to Reflections until then.
Listen to Reflections here.