When it comes to metal and hardcore, it’s genuinely frustrating that how heavy a band is provides as a greater gauge of quality than innovaton or what they actually say. It leads to the most monotonous acts becoming popular while throwing anything more interesting to the wayside. When it comes to Portsmouth’s Provoker though, their debut EP ‘the long defeat’, may actually be among the scant number of releases to find success in that middle ground.
On it’s own that might not seem like much of an endorsement. After all, melodic hardcore bands try and fail to make ripples all the time. The thing with Provoker is that there’s a far more burly hardcore centre, with Angus Roberton’s vocals on tracks like ‘Accountable’ having a much gruffer edge to them. Even with Joe Spratt’s clean vocals, they’ve not been buffed and polished like many post-hardcore bands. And the edge that’s retained that makes a lot of difference.
As for the songs themselves, it’s unfortunate that they aren’t more exciting. Tracks like ‘Solitary’ and ‘Adopt / Adapt’ aren’t bad by any means, but they stick so closely to the post-hardcore template that there’s little to really get excited about. It feels like treading over old ground and, on a debut EP, it doesn’t exactly hurt to show off some new ideas.
It makes ‘The Long Defeat’ feel impressive in its execution but lacking in its content, and that’s a real shame. This is a band who could go far with a little more unique character. As it stands Provoker are solid could be so much more.
‘the long defeat’ EP by Provoker is released on 6th March.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)