Boundaries

During Canto I of Inferno, poet Dante Alighieri ponders, “Death is little more.

Though originally penned in the 14th century, the line holds just as much weight in this day and age. In Dante’s words, the pressure of the world has boiled over to the point where dying hardly feels any worse than living. Boundaries speak directly to this sentiment. The Connecticut quintet—Matthew McDougal [vocals], Cory Emond [guitar], Tim Sullivan [drummer, vocals], Nathan Calcagno [bass, vocals], and Cody DelVecchio [guitar]—tune into the discord and strife of a seemingly doomed generation and, ultimately, strike a nerve.

After building a devout audience and earning widespread acclaim, the group unleash a flood of unrestrained emotion on their third full-length offering, Death Is Little More [3DOT Recordings].

“Dante mentions dying would be barely any worse than living in a bitter black forest of existence,” notes Matthew. “It’s an idea I took and largely applied to the record thematically. Death Is Little More is about life at its most difficult. You’re not going to end your life, but you’re so stressed and overwhelmed that your life ending would feel like just another incident on the list. The concept stuck with me..”

Boundaries have infused metallic hardcore with powerful melodies and poignant honesty since arriving in 2014. The group have organically progressed across albums and EPs such as Hartford County Misery [2017], My Body In Bloom [2019], Your Receding Warmth [2020], and Burying Brightness [2022]. Revolver hailed their “fascinating meld of crushing sounds, and New Noise Magazine rated the latter “4.5-out-of-5 stars” and raved, “They’re a band with arguably one of the brightest futures in the scene. Renowned as a powerhouse presence live, they shared stages with everyone from Counterparts and Lorna Shore to Currents.

During 2023, the musicians returned to Graphic Nature Audio in order to record with producer and longtime collaborator Randy Leboeuf [Gideon, The Acacia Strain, Kublai Khan]. Rather than submit individual song ideas separately, they spent nearly six weeks in the studio together, talking about songs, working on them, and collaborating. Their democratic approach strengthened the sonic structure itself.

“We’d rework and rewrite as a team rather than one person,” notes Cory. “Instead of trying to pigeonhole ourselves into anything, we literally made whatever we wanted.”

“Even though we love Burying Brightness, we didn’t want to redo it,” Matthew goes on. “We had a lot of conversations about what it should sound like until we found some middle ground. It was more collaborative.”

They introduce the album with the menacingly magnetic lead single “Easily Erased.” Melodic guitar cuts through a wall of distortion as a seesawing groove hits like a jackhammer. The beatdown leaves just enough room for an incisive refrain, “Will you break all of the promises that you made? For you, it should be easy to erase.

“Traditionally, I’ve always heavily written from personal experience,” Matthew says. “Rather than zero in on experiences this time, I wrote from a place of feeling now. Since it’s a little vaguer,  it allowed me to get weirder.”

“A Pale Light Lingers” hinges on a trudging groove offset by a neck-snapping riff. Lochie Keogh of Alpha Wolf stomps into the frame with a guttural growl, adding another dimension to the destruction.

“‘A Pale Light Lingers’ is the heaviest and scariest version of Boundaries,” Matthew reveals. “It’s more aggressive for sure. It’s a big, ‘Fuck you’. Lochie has always been an outspoken fan of what we do, and he killed it.”

“Scars On A Soul” steamrolls forward at full speed on a pummeling guitar riff, giving way to a call-and-response between the clean vocals and the screams.

“It has a sing-y element, and it’s heavy too,” he goes on. “There’s a balance. We were leaning into our heavy influences in addition to those Circa Survive and Silverstein moments.”

The journey reaches an emotional apex  on “Blame’s Burden” [feat. Marcus Vik of Invent Animate]. Cinematic guitar overtures set the scene, tightening up the tension only to explode with a cathartic scream.

“You’re wishing there’s a way not to be here anymore,” he states. “You want to remove yourself in a way that doesn’t affect other people’s lives. You long for the ability to leave without hurting anyone.”

Then, there’s “Blood Soaked Salvation” [feat. Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan], which the guys describe as “How do A Day To Remember’s Homesick and Converge make sense together?”

Cory recalls, “On the final day in the studio, we just decided to do one more song. ‘Blood Soaked Salvation’ was another vibe for us. We randomly hit up Matt, and he said, ‘Of course’. He totally took over.”

The finale, “Inhale The Grief,” sees the band flex their range with a jarring ebb-and-flow, bleeding into one last undeniable catharsis. “We spent a lot of time refining it,” says Cory. “It’s way more melodic. We were able to move into different territory all around.”

By progressing, Boundaries continue to carve out a lane of their own with an empowering send-off on Death Is Little More.

“This time, I decided to describe feelings and give those feelings a story,” Matthew leaves off. “I hope you listen to it and find motivation. There would be nothing better.”

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