Imagine the Melodic Hardcore scene in the Northeast: it’s 2017 and it is screaming for some transformation, it needs a fiery attitude to set Newcastle ablaze with a zestful punk inferno, the kind that turns excited, fresh-eyed spectators into incredibly loyal fans. Enter Perceptions.
Perceptions, consisting of six members, garnered success after performing in Newcastle’s local metal circuit alongside ensembles THECITYISOURS and Sworn Amongst. This catapulted the sextet into their debut single ‘Wake Up Call’, which received airplay on BBC introducing Newcastle.
Following their trajectory of success, 2018 saw the release of second single ‘Outcast’, which sparked the creation of their debut, six-track EP ‘False Prophets’ in mid-2019 and thus, their explosive release show at Newcastle O2 Academy. After fulfilling support slots for bands like Feed the Rhino, Arcite and King 810, the band emerges into the forefront once more with their new single ‘Seed of Misery’. After experiencing the caustic swelling of aggressive instrumentals in ‘Wake Up Call’, concocting a venomous show of raw, passionate energy alongside its vocals, I can’t wait to dive into their new single!
Opening with the gentle pitter-patter of a soothing rainstorm soundscape, we are immediately thrust into its contrasting instrumentation - the belligerent bounce of Ryan Hubbard’s drum rolls, perfectly accenting the ferocious dalliance between Jimi Walker’s melodious bass and Connor Seymour’s rhythmic guitar. They create such an infectiously volatile mood amongst the characteristically thunderous dynamics and fiercely fast-paced tempos, further emphasised by James Sexton’s insane talent as lead guitarist. This - already impressive - flare of the band’s personal style is what I imagine the music equivalent of a nightshade berry popping in your ear to be. Blackened and alluring, with a deadly poisonous passion within its composition.
And then we are hit with Jamie Smith’s monstrous vocals. The song implodes into a black hole in which you definitely aren’t escaping, the vocals have the impassioned energy to blow your headset off, elevating the song with his erratic timbre. I also love how the track remains exciting with the adjacency of Smith’s vocals and Daniel Sewell’s much lighter, almost elusive in its brusque change of dynamics and textures, lyric delivery. Finding a seamless integration of clean vocals in hardcore punk is quite rare; however the clarity and gentile nature of Sewell’s voice reminds me of Aaron Gillespie’s vocals in Underoath’s ‘Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear’. I love a good nostalgia trip and this track definitely has that electrifying contour of melody and killer production quality that I recognise from bopping about my room as a kid. Imagining this track being blasted at the O2 gives me chills, I can’t visualise one person not having a good time at a live performance from Perceptions.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give a mention to the lyricism, whose emotional value is further illustrated with the metaphor within the chorus. Specifically, I really like the lyrics ‘I sank into the soil and became / The seed of my own misery’, painting a picture of a person being pulled into the dark depths of sorrow and anxiety to the point of suffocation. It has a harrowing visual of your own misery feeding itself from your remains, all supported by an unsettling, distorted, guitar riff that oozes angst and regret.
The single concludes on an elongated distortion of the instrumentation and an abrupt reverb tail that captures your slowing breath and leaving you wanting more of the band’s insanely addictive style.
After having looked at songs like their 2019 EP, like ‘Arrow’, the vehement pulse of every drum roll and every bombastic bass beat has become so much more refined and Perception’s distinctive introspective sound is only growing in uniqueness, I can’t wait to see how they experiment with their instrumentation and maybe infuse influences from other hardcore genres.
Article By Rebecca Todd