Dang. Just as I thought I could nail the coffin shut on my interest in metalcore, here come Connecticut fivesome The Perennial to push me and my coffin-nailin' ass out of the way, rip off the casket lid and bodyslam the corpse. Now, your standard New England metalcore does nothing for me. It insults my intelligence. Textures are thin, tension is non-existent, lyrics repeat tired platitudes, and song structures are numbingly dull -- everything aims towards the breakdown. The Perennial's second EP The Dissension suffers from none of those problems. Like a less grindcore-influenced version of The Red Chord, these three short tracks whirl through varying tempos and riff styles but stay in complete control of the overall idea: a disorienting yet full-frontal pummel, the aural equivalent of E. Honda's hundred hand slap. Punky parts are serrated with dissonant overtones, and compact crunchy riffs provide groove without hijacking the entire song. Sometimes they'll just let a big ugly chord sit there for a bit and fester. Best of all, The Perennial leave space in these songs, enough for exposed bass parts and short, melodic guitar leads and drum fills. Marco Corsino's hardcore screaming is the least exciting part of the EP, but that's only in context of the rest of its awesomeness. At least Corsino couches his sociopolitical diatribes in some disturbing conceits.
"The Course of a Coward"
As an aside, I love it that The Perennial share their name with a class of herbaceous plant, and I don't even care that they bit the graphics style and color scheme from Converge's Jane Doe for the cover to Dissension. More tough guys from New England should be comfortable to admit their fondness for botany and expressive cover art.