France’s Rijeka sound like they’re leading the way through these troubled times. Their now available, debut release features gripping, physically intense melodic hardcore that’s memorably racked with the chaos of spiraling noisy punk and screamo, and the dynamic swings bring the furious energy very close to listeners.
There’s a viscerally forceful core, but the group quickly build on that foundation with energetically forward devolutions into and out of more twisted, completely unstable-feeling portions in which the super thick-toned, hardcore guitar riffing feels like it’s collapsing in a heap with the bone-rattling blasts of the drum patterns. Together, these disparate, grating elements sound like they’re uniting to deliver an emotionally desperate blast through the dark, like stumbling through the unfamiliar but clearly vibrantly alive environment captured in the cover art, which features a nighttime photograph.
Track one — called “À qui la rue?” — packs the band’s shifting, pretty much inescapably affecting approach quite effectively and poignantly. The track opens with thick, thudding guitar strums followed by stomach-churning, persistently ethereally intense drum rhythm, all of which collapses together into a grim march forward when the harshly bellowed vocals come in. After a minute, there’s a brief foray into softer, more wistful strumming, but Rijeka quickly launch into a cacophonous barrage of rowdy drum blasts and guitar groove that sears the impression of the band’s emotionally desperate lunge.
Rijeka keep up that modus operandi throughout much of their release. They’ve funneled the persistent raw physical ferocity of melodic hardcore through the shrieking chaos of screamo, and together, the elements have led into a uniquely personalized, lurching beast. Softer moments, which reappear on tracks like “De la chair,” feel less like they’re communicating any kind of respite and more like they’re packing sheer emotional exhaustion via the band’s musical persistence.
The gripping “realness” of this music feels very nicely amplified when the band get to more direct tidal waves of hardcore riffing around the middle of the release, and the hoarsely shouted but desperately dynamic vocals spike this feeling as well. Their songs legitimately feel, thanks to the fierceness and the dynamics, like Rijeka have captured a sincere and easily palpable emotional state, and now it’s just time to go along for the ride.
Check out the music below!