Review Rating: Must Listen (4.7 / 5)
It takes about three or four chords from Renovate for listeners to realize that this band isn't playing around. Earth Groans, the latest addition to the Solid State Records label, blends intense melodies with passionate lyrics into a unique and hardened metal sound. Their latest EP is brutal, sincere, and refuses to cut corners. Renovate unleashes from the very first note to the very last moment, painting a very promising future for the band.
The band does not waste time with the opening track, "The Estate," as it opens with a loud and attention-grabbing roar from lead singer Jeremy Schaeffer. Chaotic drums accompany fierce bass guitar, accented by deliberate and gritty guitar notes. It's almost always a good sign when a band unleashes straight from the get-go; "The Estate" is certainly no exception. Its lyrics are as hard-hitting and aggressive as the melody, filled with vivid imagery and metaphor. They describe a life as a rotting, decaying house, sloppily patched together to cover sin, regret, and pain. The desperation climaxes with a final lyric: "Oh carpenter, renovate the old so what’s old can become new!"
"Price Tag" changes the scheme without sacrificing the raw and unrestrained grit from previous tracks. Deliberate and prominent guitar notes collide with intense, beating drums, propelling Jeremy's roaring vocals all the further. The track starts with a fast pace, then slows slightly and hits harder for the latter portions of the song. The first half describes the God of the universe as a master artist, while the second half runs parallel telling of how greatly He values humanity above all else He has created. To call "Price Tag" anything more than an intense and deliberate track would be an insult.
The final track of the EP, "Eclipse," demonstrates the full capacity of Earth Groans' intensity. Without warning, the song kicks off with fierce drums, raw and attention-grabbing electric guitar chords, and heavy-hitting, gritty vocals. Arguably one of the hardest songs in the EP, this one perfectly showcases the vision of the band. Pure poetry saturates the song's lyrics as they describe the misery of abandoning God and the satisfaction only Christ can provide. "Oh God when did my own strides take precedent over Your sovereignty?" Jeremy roars, "When did my sights flip the scales? When did I become more and You became less? This mess I made is a product of self-reliance."
Renovate is an excellent introduction to a band with an outstanding sound and a respectable maturity. Though the EP may not highlight the entire band's melodic arsenal, as a take on a ballad would have been appropriate, the sounds are unique and captivating. Additionally, across all five tracks, not a single verse is repeated. No song follows the verse-chorus form that is popular in many genres today - in fact, there's not a single chorus across the EP. Each lyric is deliberately written with vivid imagery and notable spiritual maturity; sung with a fierce intensity that demands the listener's attention and contemplation.
Without hesitation, Renovate is recommended for all fans of serious metal. Each song is masterfully developed and ingenuitive written; each chord deliberately and artistically placed. Of course, a good EP leaves listeners wanting to hear more - thankfully, Earth Groans has a very bright future ahead.