Friday, April 19 2024

“This is a place called villainy, we’re only here the rest of our days,” Che Arthur’s distinct, distorted growl sets the tone for the rest of ‘The Sliver,’ my first insight into Che’s fourth album, ‘For That Which Now Lies Fallow.’ An album which delves into his own internal struggles, dealing with cancer, isolation, heartbreak, and the inevitable passing of time. With new single, ‘The Sliver,’ Che has processed, compartmentalised and delivered an unrelenting, sneering post-hardcore opus; cathartic, honest and uncompromising. It’s been some time since 2010s ‘Like Revenge’, and one can be forgiven for wondering, after 14 years, what’s changed? Will age have tempered the fire and rawness apparent on songs such as, ‘Like Revenge,’ and ‘Rewind, Repeat’ (the latter a brooding open stringed riff, modulated chord, tom driven beast of a song reminiscent to Fugazi’s – ‘Waiting Room’)? Rest assured that with age comes wisdom, experience and a more concentrated and directed level of dissension. This is good. I mean, I’m immediately struck by both density and clarity of sound. It’s huge… It’s unrelenting… It’s incredibly well produced and I absolutely love it!

On The Sliver, we’re immediately struck with the intensity of latter-day Husker Du, and ‘Betty’ era Helmet; driving guitars underpinned by popping snares, open hi-hats and solid bass. Everything is together. Everything working to the same end. Very open, but tightly contained. 

Che growls through the first verse. Tight snare and tom fills, more open for the chorus. Vocals strain, “Where a sliver of hope remains,” and a harmonic guitar flourishes. Straight from the early ’90 to mid ’90s alt rock playbook. Two accent chords on the dominant beats acts as the perfect step into the second verse… and are reprised to good effect throughout. It’s brilliantly done! It’s infectious and has an element of swing that makes me check the time signature for 3/4 or 6/8 (it feels more 6/8). This is more of a sway however. 

The merest of dynamic shifts for the second verse draw you in further. This only serves to increase the impact of the following bridge and choruses, as the waves of guitars and drums wash over you through the mid-section and into the final chorus, “Where a sliver of hope remains,” and that’s the theme here; Che’s still here, still fighting, despite everything. Music is therapy and a way to process and externalise what is often too painful to merely vocalise in a conventional sense. It’s the fully-formed embodiment of what’s buried, left behind and ignored. It provides that sliver of hope that both the writer / composer and audience need in order to move on, to heal, to grow.   

Che’s voice has never sounded better. There’s genuine bite and control, sometimes missing on earlier releases. It sits, unobtrusively within the mix, not buried, but audible enough to hear every straining consonant. Thematically, the dichotomy between often visceral imagery and shards of light speak volumes and it should be noted that, to me, this is a song about hope and redemption rather than despair. This is a beautifully produced song, that really does deserve to be heard by a wider audience and I hope there are many, many more from this supremely talented songwriter. 

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Review

Summary

A dense slab of post-hardcore, expertly produced with stinging guitar and biting vocals. ‘The Sliver’ is truly a track you do not want to miss out on!
89%
huge and unrelenting

Rating

Song Quality
Vocal Performance
Lyrics
Instrumentation
Production

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About Author

Gareth Johnston

Gareth Johnston is a Lancashire based musician and producer who studied music at MMU. He is a former reviewer for 'Glitzine' and when not writing for 'The Indie Grid' can be found restoring old furniture whilst listening to obscure alt-rock. He has too many favourite bands to pick one and insists it's easier to pick a favourite child.

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