The Isle of Anglesey hides a dark secret in amongst its torrent of natural history and arable lands. A dark, sonic secret that renders you incapable of doing anything other than beating your chest red as the fragility of everything around you suddenly becomes all the more noticeable. The sound that Bastions produce conjures up all sorts of well-oiled, cognitive, mechanical connotations - yet there is a distinctly unfettered fleshiness to everything they do. Almost as if some great bionic entity found its passion for hardcore, and in particular Converge, then took it upon itself to write music intended to level mankind.
This latest opus 'Island Living' is the band's fourth installment of tectonic hardcore. It opens with the title track, an instantly rewarding mesh of acid and squall, as a shuddering force of bass, which I can only assume has been tuned down to the ground, constructs a framework for Jamie Burne's cauterizing vocals to attach to. Bastions' compound of hardcore liveliness and brazen metallic undertones kicks and screams with all the might you can possibly infer from such a description - meld together if you can, a bastardised portrait of Throats covering early American Nightmare, add a little gravel and you wont be far off the mark. Each track is well thought out, with keen eyes covering the areas that need the attention.
Second track 'Soar' staggers on relentless. It progresses with a partnership of consistently rapid drumming and a burning vocal tirade, a continued war of attrition that fells you as a listener, leaving you in submission at this audacious slab of metallic hardcore weightiness. You can hear stabs of Hope Conspiracy peppered throughout this release, the vocals in particular ring true to that comparison. The virulence of 'Island Living's closer, 'The Great Unwashed, is perhaps not as immediate as one might predict. It takes almost a minute for the slow burning drum whispers and guitar nuance to work themselves up into a fury, only to dip into a trough of distant vocals and timely, effective instrumental clatterings before lumbering eerily to a finale like a dead man searching for his grave.
Bastions work with vigour to achieve this sound, and I believe they'll continue to grow multi-dimensionally. Their inclusion of breakdowns could have backfired had they been slapdash attempts at merely bolstering their attack, yet the delivery is pin point, a fact which if anything, leans them more towards metal than hardcore, however enough abrasion and rough sided treatment plants them firmly within the same league as other contemporary British acts such as Throats or Brutality Will Prevail, lines of symmetry could even be drawn with Greece's Ruined Families. Needless to say this is a band doing great things, who deserve more attention.