Over the past half a decade or so, Sertraline have quietly carved out a reputation as one of the best underground metal bands in the UK. Combining evocative lyrics, crushing riffs and notoriously frenetic liveshows, their cream has inexorably risen to the top (Ed. There has to be a better way to phrase that).
That’s why there is palpable excitement for the release of the latest EP – Clouded Minds & Silver Lines. Coming 3 years after its predecessor Guilty, fans and critics alike were clambering for more from the Northern outfit, excited to see what a band many have tipped to be world-beaters had up their sleeve this time.
I’m happy to report that this time away hasn’t been wasted, rather this the band’s most impressive release to date. Everything has been refined, from Lizzie Parry’s already impressive vocals to melodies that effortlessly switch from gentle and sombre to melt-your-face-off heavy on a proverbial dime. Far too often, tech metal bands focus too much on time signatures and polyrhythms, creating something impressive, yet painfully sterile. Sertraline prove that you needn’t sacrifice poignant evocation at the expense of technical proficiency, instead taking the listener on a journey of melancholy, loss, but in my opinion an overriding sense of defiant optimism.
If you were looking for a song that exemplifies the broad spectrum of what Sertraline have to offer, check out Screaming for Sleep. Setting off with a power metal gallop before launching into abrasive, guttural vocals, it’s the perfect soundtrack for slaying demons and navigating stormy waters (or lifting weights at the gym. Whatever floats your boat). The track then meanders into a more melodic chorus, losing none of the intensity and demonstrating Parry’s range as a vocalist. All this builds to a climactic, titanic breakdown, the heaviest on the album, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a sucker for a heavy breakdown.
Simply put, from a songwriting perspective, Clouded Minds & Silver Lines is Sertraline’s best release yet. Don’t sleep on this band, they have all the tools, talent and technique to conquer the musical world, and boast a sound destined for arenas.
Clouded Minds & Silver Lines is out 15th May. You can preorder via Kickstarter, with plenty of merch goodies on offer as well!
Watch our interview with Sertraline!
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