Published Feb 21, 2020What are Reflections doing to their poor instruments? Downtuning is as much a part of metal music as blast beats or long hair, but Reflections have put their guitars on life support to reach bowel-curdling depths of vibration. Listen to the drops on "From Nothing" and "Empathy" — they sounds like Meshuggah after being compressed in a black hole.
Unbelievably, it's been seven years since Reflections dropped Exi(s)t on the deathcore scene. Followup The Colour Clear in 2015 received backlash for its move toward a more melodic hardcore sound, so it's no surprise that listeners are anticipating a return of the Reflections that wrote "My Cancer."
They've been rewarded. Willow is every bit the album Exi(s)t was, except this time, Reflections have pushed further into the sonic abyss than ever before. Every song finds some new way to plumb the depths of deathcore formula, whether it's fun with bass drops on "Psychosis," choppy nu-djent riffs on "Marionette" or symphony-sized production on album highpoint "Samsara."
But a formula it is. Maybe it's the five years that have passed since the last record, but parts of Willow feels pretty familiar. Emmure are the biggest influence, though recent efforts by Born of Osiris, Erra and the Acacia Strain (particularly "Samsara") also come to mind.
Reflections have survived the initial death of the overcrowded "tech-core-bands-ending-in-s" scene, and they've retained their original energy. Willow is exactly what fans of the band will like. At the end of the day, that is all that really matters. A Reflections record for Reflections fans. What a concept. (Independent)