Australia’s Pridelands prove the wait was worth it on debut full-length, ‘Light Bends’

There’s something really special happening in Australia’s heavy music scene right now. Of course, if you go back over the last 20+ years or so, you can probably say the same thing – with bands like Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction, Ocean Grove (just to name a few) growing to international prominence. But on Light Bends, the debut album from Australian metal band Pridelands, it’s clear there’s room for brilliant new bands to blossom as well.

Coming off 2018’s solid Any Colour You Desire EP, Light Bends helps Pridelands establish themselves as a major player in the progressive metalcore scene at large. Much like what Thornhill did with 2019’s The Dark Pool, there’s some really exciting ideas abound on Pridelands’ debut full-length.

“Translucent Blues” occupies similar territory as bands like (newer) Architects do, providing a huge accessible chorus with a nice balance of heavy and melodic styles. Meanwhile, “Antipathy” is one of the heaviest cuts on the record, but intriguingly it’s filtered through an almost Muse-esque rhythm – and just when you think the song is going to end, it cuts back in for another 30+ seconds of riffs. It’s small tricks like this that make Light Bends a memorable album with lots of highlights.

Make no mistake, there are plenty of songs here that are made for the live (stream?) setting. Album highlight “Parted Time” begins with a stellar melodic opening before inverting a typical formula with heavy riffs – truly getting on a roll and putting bounce in the moshpit. With some really solid drumwork and bouncy groove, tracks like this make Light Bends an infectious piece of work. The heavier tracks are interestingly juxtaposed by more melodic fare, like the piano-led “Safer Here” – but even those songs end up exploding in a cavalcade of rapturous emotion, making for a slightly atypical listening experience.

For Pridelands and their growing fanbase, the almost four year wait for a full-length album proves to be well worth it. It’ll be even more interesting to see what direction the promising band goes in from here – but on Light Bends, there’s very little to complain about, and everything to be stoked AF for.

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