Common Choir Unleash The Beast With Gravemind
Minneapolis Metalcore Band Ups Their Game With Their Latest EP
Now that we’re all stuck at home with no live shows to attend, there has never been a better time to explore some new music and check out some previously unexplored territory. You know what I’m talking about, all the bands that you keep putting off listening to for when you have time. Well now is the time. So, let me introduce you to Common Choir, a four-piece band out of Minneapolis that just may have released the metalcore banger of the year.
Before I get into the details of the band, let’s chat for a moment about metalcore because sometimes it gets a bad rap from the mainstream media just like its predecessor, heavy metal. So one might ask, what exactly is metalcore? Let’s keep it simple and say it’s a form of metal music that combines the best elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. Its roots go back to the 1980s New York hardcore scene and bands like Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags and really started coming into its own subgenre in the mid-90s. By the time 2000 came around, the metalcore scene was heating up with bands like Hatebreed, As I Lay Dying, Atreyu, and Shadows Fall leading the charge. The touring phenomenon that was the Vans Warped Tour brought a ton of these young bands into the spotlight and the last decade has seen the growth of bands such as Asking Alexandria, August Burns Red, and The Devil Wears Prada taking things to new heights. The basic idea is the use of drop guitar tunings, double bass, breakdowns, and those fantastically nasty dirty vocals. Of course, each and every artist puts their own spin on things and now there are so many subgenres of metalcore it would take me far too long to delve into them all here. Let’s suffice it to say that metalcore is the metal of today and definitely here to stay and Common Choir is at the leading edge of the genre.
The members of Common Choir had all been part of other bands in the local Minneapolis metal scene and came together in 2016. Since then, they have been quietly kicking ass and taking names so to speak and with the release of this year’s Gravemind EP, they seemed destined for bigger and better things. The seven-song EP is a brilliant profusion of everything that makes metal music special. It’s loud and heavy, yet it has a fair share of melody along with some pretty deep lyrical content and after one listen, I was wondering why the hell this band isn’t signed yet. Opening up with the title track, the guitar comes in and there’s a very doom and gloom feel before things just crank up into serious overdrive. This leads the way for “Dive Bar Knight Life, Pt. 2,” which is full steam ahead but is also the most melodic track on the EP with a great chorus. If you’re wondering if there was a Part 1, indeed there was and you can check out that song, “Dive Bar Knight Life” on their 2016 Self Inflicted Famine EP.
It may seem hard to believe but things get even better from there with “The Nothing.” The band has dedicated the song to the underdogs, the ones who have been beaten down for the sole reason of making the attacker feel superior, and is a theme that I think everyone can ultimately relate to. “You are nothing, nothing to me/you are nothing, nothing but dead weight.” The track features Derek Petricka of Inflict helping out on vocals and there is also a wicked video to go along with it. It was recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered by Nick Pocock of In Search of Solace and the video was filmed and edited by Austin Scherzberg.
There’s some stellar guitar work from Chris Dahlen throughout the EP with a fantastic opening on “Of Rust and Rot” and just overall killer stuff on “Futility Monologue.” Vocalist Zach Fulton sounds spot on spitting out his angry growls that add to the tension and angst behind many of the songs. All this is backed by a rock-solid rhythm section with Tony Lendt on drums and Miles Norwood on bass. Oh, and check out that breakdown on “Phase Separation!”
If you’re a fan of metal music, you owe it to yourself to check out Common Choir and give Gravemind a listen. Once this lockdown is over and bands can get back out and perform again, Common Choir is going to have those pits slamming!
Common Choir Is:
Zach Fulton- Vocals
Chris Dahlen- Guitar
Miles Norwood- Bass
Tony Lendt- Drums