Surfing the web while bored stiff can yield gold if you pay close enough attention. I happened upon Palm Reader doing just that, and I’ve got to say, I’m damn impressed with what they’ve done on their latest album, Beside The Ones We Love.
Hailing all the way from Woking, United Kingdom, Palm Reader has been hard at work making a name for themselves in the European hardcore scene. The quintet’s take on post hardcore pushes the genre into an interesting intersection of clean chaos, favoring melodically disturbed licks meshed with powerful break beats, creeping harmonics, and some of the punchiest guitar work I’ve heard since the Refused hit the scene.
Beside The Ones We Love opens the flood gates, unleashing “Watch the Fire Chase My Tongue”, allowing Palm Reader to flex their muscles early. There’s no cliche movie quote, no self-indulgent instrumental bullshit; just a snare drum, a few shouts, and the chugging boom of guitars relentlessly forcing their way into your ear drums on rolling waves of toms and snare drums. The aural assault continues through the circle pit ready “Pendant”, and culminates viciously in the barn burner, “By the Ground, We’re Defined”. Each song keeps the energy flowing at maximum levels, refusing to let you sit still as you take it in.
The majority of the album is filled with heavy hitters, but they also thrive well slowing things down with euphonic, down-tempo palate cleansers. “Travelled Paths” bleeds a solemn desperation from a lone guitar while “Sing Out, Survivor” is a gang vocal anthem giving you temporary shelter before shoving you back into the thick of it. As the album progresses, the UK hard rockers blend both styles, resulting in the eclectic rager ,”Black Hand”, and ending the album on a high note with the powerful ballad, “Unabridged”, filled with harmonious riffs, and a heartfelt lyrical delivery.
I can’t tell you how jealous I am of England after discovering this band. They get to experience these songs live well before the US gets a shot. Beside The Ones We Love absolutely slays front to back. Palm Reader has created something equally palatable and jarring, offering a wide range of heavy for fans of the genre to sink their teeth into. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play this album till I get sick of it.