It’s been a couple of years now since we’ve heard any noise from Brighton metalcore mob Fathoms, and for good reason. They’ve been busy. Since the release of their 2015 full length Lives Lived, they’ve been regularly touring here, there and everywhere. Earlier this year they went out to Asia and got a phenomenal response across the continent. Most recently, they’ve toured across Europe with Kingdom of Giants and Create To Inspire. Amidst all this activity, however, they’ve had a few hurdles to jump over. One of them being this album. They initially recorded it in Florida way back in November 2015, with a producer that provided the band with nothing but problems. After a string of broken promises, missed deadlines, a lot of money and a legal battle, the band managed to get the stems for the album only to find they were terrible quality and un-mixable. As a result of this they re-entered the studio in late 2016 to track the album for a second time, only this time with a different producer. This time around there were zero problems to deal with, and the result of those recording sessions is Counter Culture. Was it worth all the trouble? Well, yes. Yes it was.
The record kicks off with Hate Preach, jam packed with bouncy riffs and stern instructions from vocalist Max Campbell to get jumping and get your fists in the air. If this isn’t their set opener when they play shows, it should be. It acts as a perfect tone setter for what’s coming. Singles Counter Culture and B.E.L.I.E.V.E keep that bouncy feel alive, maintaining the energy throughout and featuring some riffs that are impossible to stay still to. Laden with hooks and enormous choruses, both these tracks show an evolved version of the band. There’s a lot more attention to detail on the actual song structure, allowing the tracks to flow and progress organically. Nothing feels forced. Fated and The Spaces In Between are both shining examples of this flow, seamlessly merging the heavy grooves with enormous choruses and soaring vocal melodies. These tracks are a perfect blend of old and new, never holding back on the heavy grooves and smoothly transitioning into choruses screaming out for singalongs. Slip Away slots into the middle of the album as a welcome change of pace, and also shows their sensitive side. It’s the softest song on the album, and I guess you could almost refer to it as a ballad. The chorus really lifts the track to another level entirely, and the vocals from Sam Rigden are nothing short of impressive. He doesn’t strain or push his range, he sits comfortably within it’s boundaries and navigates his way through an immediately memorable melody. The majority of the album showcases this approach, and some might say that on a whole it isn’t as heavy as their previous offerings. But the album closer You Ain’t On What We On is a blistering reminder that they are just as heavy as they’ve always been. Nu-metal styled vocals feature heavily on this track as the guitars and drums race along at a breakneck pace, taking the occasional break to launch chuggy riffage down your earholes. Just as you think the song is going to end and you’re finally safe, you’re thrusted into a slow and doomy drone, closing the album with Campbell snarling “I know where the Devil is; In my mind. I let him in”. There may have been a delay in releasing this album, but there was no delay in me listening to it for a second time. They have most certainly picked up where they left off.
Well, they’ve sort of picked up where they left off. That isn’t entirely true. When you listen this album it is obvious that it’s Fathoms. The grooves are still there, the head bang worthy and fist pump demanding riffs are still there. But now they have started to evolve their sound and are morphing into something new. Something more together and refined than they were before. It’s audible that they’ve started to draw influence from other places. A lot of the tracks display a huge nu-metal vibe in both the instrumentation and the vocal delivery. Their choruses have hugely improved too, a lot of the songs boasting some really memorable moments. On a whole, this is without doubt their most accomplished release to date. It sounds like they’re very much finding their feet, and Counter Culture shows a great deal of promise going forwards. Hopefully they won’t have as many issues releasing the next album, but this record should quite happily satisfy your appetite until then. If you’re a fan of bands like Attila, Sylar and The Amity Affliction, there’s definitely something for you here.