Counterfeit Culture

Hailing from New Jersey, Counterfeit Culture is a young, budding metalcore band with serious potential. From their blend of brutal and melodic, they are able to stand out amongst the crowd of bands that flood into the scene. Dropping an impressive EP last week confirms that they are set to make waves as they progress as a band in the future.

Not many young, new bands can say that they have opened up for big acts like The Plot In You, Erra, and The Black Dahlia Murder. This proves that Counterfeit Culture really is a band with serious potential that any metal lover should keep on their radar.

Counterfeit Culture’s Deathwish EP dropped last week, and it’s been in rotation since. With three songs that truly encapsulate the band’s sound, Deathwish is a striking introduction to Counterfeit Culture and everything they stand for. Easily obvious is how well-put this EP is. Thanks to the likes of producer / engineer Ricky Armellino, Counterfeit Culture dropped a cohesive and polished EP ( The solid production highlights the talented musicianship of each member of the quartet. With sick riffs and brutal breakdowns, Counterfeit Culture can get a crowd thrashing and head banging. Contrasting their heavy-hitting nature is their softer, more atmospheric side. Most evident on their track “X”, the balance between melody and brutality is top-notch and executed well. Many bands fail to cohesively mix soft and heavy and end up sounding forced. Counterfeit Culture, however, succeeding in coalescing the two facets of their sound.

The most intriguing part about Counterfeit Culture is their lyrical content. They masterfully touch upon serious subjects such as domestic abuse (“Apothecary”), identity (“Second Soul”), and drug addiction (“X”). Emotion is felt in each note vocalist Nick Broglio belts out. The guitar, bass, and drums, handled by Patrick Robertson, Elijah Pagan, and Chris Smith respectively, accentuate the relevant subject found in the band’s lyrics.

Overall, Deathwish is a fantastic EP that appropriately welcomes the world to Counterfeit Culture. My only problem with the EP was that it was only three songs long, but hey it leaves me wanting more as it should for anyone who stumbles upon the young band. Real lyrics, filthy riffs and breakdowns, and a mature blend of soft and heavy is what separates Counterfeit Culture from other bands and makes them an artist to watch.

Cop the band’s EP and merch at Big Cartel, and play their EP on Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes and more.

Top vybes: “Apothecary”, “X”

Vybes like: Northlane, Erra


Oceans Ate Alaska – Hikari

Ladies and djentleman, I present to you…Hikari—a viable candidate album of the year. No, I do not say that lightly. Oceans Ate Alaska perfect their highly feral yet incredibly polished progressive metalcore sound on Hikari. It is on this album that this band reaches its pinnacle in creativity, quality, and uniqueness.

Few bands can juggle heaviness and melody as well as Oceans Ate Alaska, and Hikari is a prime example of how to do it. On previous releases, the melodic moments seemed somewhat out of place in some moments. Yet Oceans Ate Alaska was able to coalesce the softer elements of their sound with their heavier ones with such smoothness (the perfect culmination of this heavy/soft blend being their track “Hansha”). This is a huge highlight of Hikari because OAA has a heavily jarring sound on the surface. I remember when I first listened to their previous album that I was constantly scratching my head, wondering how I was supposed to head bang to any of it (this is not a knock on the band; they are just really good with being technical). So I know from experience that this band can be hard to sonically digest. However, Oceans Ate Alaska crafted Hikari with such prowess and awareness that the album doesn’t play out as a tough listen. It’s polished and pristine, all while maintaining its blistering progressive sound.

A vital factor in this album being so phenomenal and polished is the new vocalist Jake Noakes. Like the previous vocalist, Noakes handles both the clean and unclean vocals; however, Noakes is essential for OAA’s polished sound. A talented vocalist overall, Noakes’ clean vocals are what allow the band to reach new heights. Noakes hits notes with a smooth deliciousness that was absent on previous releases. And to witness him balancing both clean and unclean vocals with apparent ease is admirable.

The Japanese theme imbues the album with positive results. The Japanese instrumentation serves not only as a testament to the band’s uniqueness but their willingness to experiment with different sounds. “Veridical” is the poster child for OAA’s implementation of Japanese instruments.

Apart from the additional Japanese instrumentation, Oceans Ate Alaska continued to bring the technical heaviness fans have come to expect. From frenetic riffs to dissonant chords and complex chugging, OAA creatively wanders the sonic spectrum, crafting memorable tracks each distinct from the next. “Benzaiten” is the first track on the album, and it introduces the Japanese vibe and the ridiculous technicality that diffuses throughout the entire album. The constant tempo changes are unbelievable (2:24 on “Benzaiten”, for example), but are not unique to just this track. Each song has phenomenal sections where time signatures and tempo shift in the most fluid way possible.

This album was literal perfection and will serve as legit evidence as to why Oceans Ate Alaska is one of the best bands currently in the scene. Hikari is a masterpiece that fluctuates along the sonic spectrum with technical grace and clear purpose, further cementing Oceans Ate Alaska’s signature sound.


Top vybes: “Hansha”, “Deadweight”, “Birth-Marked”, “Escapist”

For those who vybe to: Veil of Maya, Erra