Album Review: Other Half – Big Twenty

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Other Half

Big Twenty - Venn Records

Norwich, UK’s post-hardcore trio Other Half are set to release their debut album “Big Twenty” on the 21st August via Gallows imprint Venn Records, the band met through their involvement in the DIY punk scene, including the band members previous tenure in outfits such as Maths, Ducking Punches and Manbearpig, before joining together to begin to write the material for what would become the Other Half. The trio’s forthcoming debut album delivers fourteen songs of caustic post-hardcore that explores the dark side of human nature, the unpleasant places people go to and the horror they are capable of unleashing, often upon themselves.

You are instantly hit by the harsh discordant driven rhythms of the opening track ‘Karaoke‘, the discordant staccato attack of post punk forms the spine of the track but is backed up by some serious hardcore muscle, the single ‘Sameness Without End‘ only serves to compound your initial impression. “Big Twenty” is the antithesis a feel good album, every barbed undercurrent, scathing vocal line or pummelling riff is unsettling, tracks like ‘White Worm‘ and ‘Community Spirit‘ somewhat theatrically build the tension before the attack starts, elsewhere they just launch into a sonic onslaught that becomes an almost relentless barrage, if you think that is a criticism of “Big Twenty” you haven’t been paying attention, it’s the album’s core strength that the attack keeps coming, and always from an unexpected angle.

Other Half defy expectations, this is one of the few post hardcore bands I’ve encountered that actually embodies the spirit and intensity of the hardcore scene, the sneering vocals, and screamed backing vocals, wouldn’t sound out of place fronting a vintage hardcore band, the defiant attitude is also present in every groove of “Big Twenty“, something that tracks like ‘Big Wheel‘ and ‘Piggish Man‘ underline. If there is a recurring theme to “Big Twenty“, and I’m pretty sure there is, it is somewhat unsurprisingly in a dark place, it’s a place where the focus is upon the unhealthy cycles and downward spirals that human nature inflicts upon itself, watching people lose themselves whilst they simultaneously celebrate the warmth of belonging, wherever they may find it.

Other Half‘s debut album “Big Twenty” can be pre-ordered via Venn Records here