Elwood Stray are one of those bands that when you first hear one of their songs, you are instantly impressed. You know the feeling- when the huge crushing guitars swing in after a short intro build, you can’t help but pull an impressed frown to coincide with the sheer heaviness of the song’s instrumentals. This EP by the Melodic Metalcore quintet titled Burn the Bridge shows to be a massively impressive release, especially in an overflowing genre and Elwood Stray only having existed for about a year. Get your seatbelts on, everyone.
The EP release opens with thrashing tune Vultures, holding one of the simplest opening riff to serve as merely a starter course to make way for a massive cut-in from full instrumental goodness. The (quite frankly) masterful guitar tone and impressive drumming work only aid in pushing this release to the forefront of a listener’s memory practically instantly. Taking a sound that reflects Stick to your Guns with anger management issues and shaping instrumentals this impressive is a feat that isn’t achieved easily, and it’s so easy to tell that this project is full of heart (and grit, as the massive breakdown would tell you).
However, this opening shows the EP’s most glaring issue- some seriously questionable vocal work. Lead vocalist Maik Nehrkorn’s vocals dip from spoken word to raspy yelp constantly throughout this release, and it becomes incredibly difficult to see past this. Releases in this genre need a vocalist with gall, with power and with determination, but Maik seems entirely uncertain about where he’d like to set his feel in terms of his vocal delivery. Since his vocals are pushed to the forefront it is incredibly hard to look past this in the long run of listening to Elwood Stray’s music, but some extra vocal coaching and some decisions on where his vocals want to lie will fix this problem instantly.
Burn the Bridge keeps fighting on though, with breakdowns, riffs and slamming instrumentals to set them up for an excellent career in the scene. The band’s repeated use of clean guitar sounds over vocal breaks is a magnificent touch to their music, especially during LVHP. The band have shown themselves to be up there with the giants of their genre despite their short life thus far in terms of quality, and with some touching up in the vocal department, there is no doubt that Elwood Stray could be something quite spectacular.