Naarm/Melbourne alt-metal five-piece Future Static have today shared their highly-anticipated debut album Liminality via Wild Thing Records. The 12-track project two years in the making is a blend of deft guitarwork over intricate rhythms as vocalist Amariah Cook brings a passionate and powerful performance.
Produced, mixed and mastered by Christopher Vernon (Windwaker, The Beautiful Monument), Liminality fuses progressive metal and metalcore with pop sensibilities to create a unique offering in the contemporary heavy scene. Its mesmerising artwork was designed by guitarist Jack Smith to portray the space between materialising and deteriorating into nothingness that we all inhabit.
Relentless opener “Chemical Lobotomy” sets the tone of the record, with busy passages and technical riffs reflecting the chaotic nature of the lyrics. A soaring lead from Cook is complemented by bassist Kira Neil in an overlapping final chorus that speaks to the repetition of substance abuse. This transitions into ramped-up single “Venenosa”, showcasing Cook’s deep growl and a stomping singalong hook. With a breakdown of chugs and squealing guitars, the band have made a live staple in this hasty track that signals the first on the album to target exterior forces.
Next is brutal single “Roach Queen”, a desperate cry for help that settles into the soil of disgust for oneself. The darkly melodic refrain at the halfway point is a highlight of the whole record, and that bridge is sure to incite Walls of Death. “Icarus” is one of the more accessible songs on here, with a healthy balance of cleans and growls and some memorable riffs, that serves as far more than filler. This is a polarising segway to the hyper-pop programming of “…And the Walls that Were Built” before a crushing guitar lead ushers in a haunting choir that builds to a huge final chorus.
“Waves”, the album’s earliest single and band’s first with Cook on vocals, signals the middle of the record with all their signature elements – an indication that Future Static have always had a clear vision of their sound. It radiates beautiful madness with each member on show and a fantastic call-and-response riff. Another first is “Iliad” featuring Luke Taylor of Heartline, a collaboration for what must be the heaviest song in the band’s catalogue at just two minutes with no cleans.
Another interesting contrast is “Will I?”, a delicate track with a sharp tonal shift midway to a much darker melody before returning to an uplifting final chorus of personal interrogation. Neil returns for additional vocals on recent single “The Hourglass”, paired with Cook’s elegant control and a choral section that gives off big Evanescence vibes. The opening plunges into a breakdown with fast chugs and harsh screams before ending with overlapping vocals and solemn strings.
Acoustic interlude “Halfway Across the World” offers a moment of reprieve with sweet harmonies and gentle strumming before launching into “Plated Gold” featuring none other than Sean Harmanis of Make Them Suffer. The frenetic drums are a standout of this track as beefy riffs and guttural vocals bolster the mix to create a deadly sweet effort. Finally, anthemic closer “The Embers” is a sombre singalong with affecting melodies and unusual rhythms. One last breakdown with a distorted synth punctuates the end of the record for a lingering sense of exhaustion from this emotional journey of sonic variety.
If there’s one thing that this album is, it’s unpredictable. Going from one extreme to another, each of the 12 tracks are worlds apart at times yet fit together in a way that only Future Static can master. Liminality is a stunning debut from a band that knows exactly what they are capable of and puts it on full display in every take, and that is anything.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
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