After overcoming numerous hurdles along the way, Birmingham metalcore outfit A Promise To Forget are ready to drop their debut album Dying To Live in August. The fruit of their long labours is a self-released record of immense sincerity and personality. ‘Metalcore’ is something of a blanket term these days, applied to an increasingly disparate list of bands and soundscapes. Perhaps this is why A Promise To Forget write ‘decide for yourself’ in the genre column of their Facebook page.
The band eschew some of the more familiar conventions of their peers and go for a sound that blends the arena sized choruses of bands like Mallory Knox with the belly rumbling heaviness of Bury Tomorrow, fortunately not resorting to the harsh verse, clean chorus formula track after track. The former comparison is demonstrated best by the trio of heavy hitters that open the album, Old Friends, Ravens and Writing Desks and lead single Sylvia. Each of these tracks comes equipped with soaring melodies bigger than the last.
Things take a turn for the heavier at the halfway point with the tracks Power and Dying To Live. All pounding drums and gruff roars, these tracks show the band have plenty more tricks up their sleeve than just huge melodies. A well-placed breakdown in the former track hits with full force thanks to the less-is-more approach to heaviness taken throughout the album. It must be said the rest of the record doesn’t recapture the sheer size of the opening three tracks, but it shows a band that have plenty of strings to their bow and refuse to become just another ‘metalcore’ band.
The MVP on Dying To Live is undoubtedly vocalist and rhythm guitarist Tim Castle who possesses a unique voice that lends genuine character to the band. Make no mistake this is an incredibly heart on sleeve batch of metal tracks and Castle has written some immensely personal lyrics that any young person will relate to. There’s no second guessing the utter sincerity in every word he bellows across the record and on songs like Sleepless his feelings of anguish and frustration seem to bleed through the speakers.
As a debut album Dying To Live reveals more potential than it capitalises on throughout its ten tracks. However, the band have heart, sincerity and personality by the bucket load and with tracks like Ravens and Writing Desks already in their arsenal A Promise To Forget are a band well worth keeping your eyes, and your ears, on.