Listening to Underperformer — the debut LP from the Danish hardcore group EYES — feels like getting barreled into by a rampaging stampede. The album feels like an out-of-control train that is careening through the countryside with a drunk conductor on board. It’s an all-around invigorating experience.
EYES have a lot more to offer than “just” riffs, although those are obviously pretty great to begin with, and the band members have got some pretty clear musical prowess fueling their latest musical excursion. All of the riffs on Underperformer hit incredibly hard, and there’s really never a moment across the entire record that feels under-developed (ironically enough, considering the album title).
EYES have constructed their songs around skeletons that feel a bit more sprawling and off-kilter than one might expect from hardcore. At times, there’s almost a hard rock/ heavy metal vibe to some of the riffing and rhythms, as if the band have launched themselves into a metaphorical ether in order to capture mental states of searing chaos by any means necessary. The rhythms hit hard and fast, and the band consistently cruises along with an invigorating, chest-thumping energy.
Staggering smacks of heavy groove pepper the entire record, including moments like the track “Choke.” The riffs break into a galloping pace almost right from the get-go — after nihilistic-sounding, distorted twangs during the beginning of opening track “Verge,” the band members kick their music into gear like outlaws running through the desert. As big, booming riffs roll in during the close of “Verge” and elsewhere, there’s a real sense that musically, just about anything goes.
The band have captured just how invigorating and cathartic that the freedom can feel like on a musical level, and they’ve also rather expertly captured caustic waves of tension that accompany that struggle under the weight of looming listlessness. It’s a real-world feeling — as expressed in the lyrics, which are delivered with a strangely accessible-feeling yet roaring snarl, EYES are dealing with pits of tension while struggling to find some stability. Underperformer seems to prove, by its very existence, that there’s a damn good time to be had even without any stability in sight other than the promise of more onslaughts of heaviness.
Listen to Underperformer below via Denmark’s Indisciplinarian.