It’s been quite a journey for Halcyon Days. Emerging out of Oslo, Norway at the beginning of 2012, the band released their debut album Elevate back in 2014 – a competent tech-metal record which was frequently playlisted and highly recommended within local circles; however, the band never really broke into the mainstream globally. It was not until two years after when they released a self-titled EP which finally broke through the underground ceiling (for instance, garnering 250k streams on digital platforms) and pushed them rapidly towards the limelight. It’s only four years later that they are ready to release their second full-length, titled Rain Soaked Pavements & Fresh Cut Grass.
Fans of the aforementioned debut should take note that this new recording sounds nothing like that previous conventional tech/djent style, but is now in fact a superb example of melodic metal/hardcore not dissimilar from bands such as Architects, Underoath and Counterparts.
This record builds with all the intensity you would hope for. Opening with “Fragments”, the track is a perfect display of atmospheric, dreamy guitar lines building to a heavy melodic chorus. Vocalist Daniel Lorentsen screams with brilliant clarity and control over songs like “Lights Out” and “July”, which are ultra heavy at times, but are accentuated with great singalong choruses which, by the band’s own omission, give an insight into their personal lives and thoughts with the intention that the listener is always able to relate.
You can view the official music video for “July” here.
You really do get the feeling that with this record there was a focused writing process which, despite resulting in feeling simpler from a musical standpoint, makes for a really strong end result. It’s only when the riff to “Cerca Trova” kicks in that you are reminded of where Halcyon Days started out. Dual guitar lines from Ulrik Linstad and Andre Sorenson really stand out by adding melody and texture to keep the listener’s interest. Cuts like “Keeper” and “Monument” are nods to old school US hardcore vibes of bands like Shai Hulud, whilst the obvious Scandinavian influence of Refused is ever present.
It’s encouraging to see that Halcyon Days appear to have a focus moving forward, and with this fresh approach to the hardcore style, it’s exciting to think where this record could take them.