Palm Reader is a band from England that first got my attention because of the custom spray painted editions of their self titled EP. I wasn’t too siked about what I heard; it felt like a Bastions 2.0, the dark emotional kind of hardcore that is very popular in the UK. However, they really grabbed my attention with the Mumford & Sons cover they did. The cleans were amazing and they made another musician’s song their own. So when I heard a new record would be out and I got a chance to review it, I took it.
Bad Weather starts off with the first song ‘Unwanted Guest (Grace Pt. 1)’ and begins slow but powerful with loud shrieks, double bass rumbling, and catchy guitar riffs. ‘Spineless’ is fast, making no way for a slow pace until 1/3 into the song. High tempo, high energy, even higher pitched screams, and they get very creative with their guitar work. ‘Smack Hound’ is a bit more chaotic and instrumental; it sounds like Converge at some parts. The song makes a remarkable switch when all the chaos and energy makes way for a slow paced drum, ongoing screams, and a guitar riff filling in here and there until the end of the song. ‘The Fox and The Crow’ has an ambient intro with experimental edges slowly going over into a more chaotic sound. Fifth track is ‘Bitter Hostess (Grace pt. 2)’; it’s an interlude to catch your breath.
Sixth song ‘Seeing and Believing are Two Different Things’ is an aggressive track. The dark sound appeals to me. I really expected this record to be a Melodic Hardcore record but it’s actually more experimental and chaotic. Since there is a growing amount of Melodic Hardcore and Breakdown bands around, this more darker sound is a breath of fresh air. ‘Echo’ doesn’t give you any room to breath after the last song. It’s another song filled with pure energy, angry vocals, and double bass drums. The atmosphere put in every song is amazing and that’s what makes this band and record quite extraordinary. ‘Uncomfortably Lucid’ starts off fast and mean. Palm Reader isn’t a big fan of intros or building up their tracks; every song starts off hard hitting and uncompromising. It’s a good track however it isn’t outstanding. It’s another Palm Reader song and the atmosphere is great, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard already.
Ninth track is called ‘Noble Host (Grace pt. 3)’ and this track was released as a single. It’s a new sound on this record and in my opinion they should’ve put the song earlier on the track list. This track is the most atmospheric and experimental track on Bad Weather. Vocals on the song are clean in the first half. His cleans are remarkable and they made me fall for this band. The build up from the clean parts to the screamed parts are just amazing. This song proves that they can do more and create something exceptional. Last track ‘The Whites of our Eyes’ is an aggressive song again which isn’t bad, but I had hoped for an more experimental ending for the record. However, this song has some catchy tunes and the chords will stick with you. The cleans around 2/3 in to the song are a pleasant surprise. It feels like this song sums up the entire record and it’s hard to achieve something like that in only a few minutes. It’s the expected ending to a remarkable record that is worth checking out.
Overall I’m done with the Melodic Hardcore hype. However, bands like Palm Reader, Bastions and Grader are definitely an exceptions that keep up a good name. This record surprised me in a good way because I expected the standard melodic songs with too much cleans. Instead I got a record with so much atmosphere and experimentation in the songs. Most of all I love the aggression because I didn’t expect that in any way. If you want a clear image of what you can expect from this record than it’s this: Imagine Converge and Bastions trying to compete with each other in a battle of the bands. They’re like shredding in front of each other like crazy and then they decide fuck this, let’s work together. That sound filled with extra atmosphere and energy gets you Palm Reader’s Bad Weather.
Track list – Bad Weather:
1. Unwanted Guest (Grace Pt.1)
3. Smack Hound
4. The Fox and the Crow
5. Bitter Hostess (Grace pt.2)
6. Seeing and Believing are Two Different Things
8. Uncomfortably Lucid
9. Noble Host (Grace pt.3)
10. Whites of our Eyes
Written by Nigel