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Kronik of "A safe place to live" PATHWALKER (Eng Version)

Pathwalker is a metalcore band from Jena in Germany. I discovered them exactly two years ago, when they contacted me on Insta. I listened to the first track that our dear Google was kind enough to suggest, 'Sink or Swim' (released in 2019), and found it rather nice: in short, good metalcore (which I think is becoming increasingly rare). A few days later, 'Price of Growth' was released (more on that later), and my good first impression was confirmed. If you're one of the BGP's oldest and most faithful fans, you probably heard about this band in November 2021.

As time went by, I got to know the band and was very taken by their world and the messages they conveyed. So I ordered their first EP, Reflections, which was released in 2020 and which I hadn't listened to yet. And then, in addition to all the lovely attentions in the parcel, which were very revealing of the band's spirit, and the quality merch - which I'm the only one to have in France (yes, I'm showing off, but you should be used to it now. The f**k! In the end, the singles mentioned didn't reflect the whole of Pathwalker's universe and I discovered a real nugget of musical violence: finally, it's much more deathcore than metalcore. I listen it EVERY WEEK! Whatever I say about the album I'm about to review, you must listen to this EP!

Now you should understand why I'm on board with A Safe Place to Live, their self-produced debut album released on 17 November 2023. And not to mention my affection for the band, they work by evoking the subject of mental health issues, notably on the networks and on their website. For that alone, they deserve a feature on our page.

I've decided to review in the old way: I only know the singles and I'm discovering the album at the same time as I'm reviewing it! The album opens with the 2021 single I mentioned earlier, 'Price of Growth'. So I'm already very familiar with it - it's like arriving on familiar ground . I feel almost reassured by a kind of continuity. And indeed, it's a track that has all the makings of a single: the alternation of a particularly heavy growl with a pleasant clean voice, serving up a melodically striking chorus. It's also the song that conveys a message very important to the band, hammered home throughout: "You're not alone in this world". Pathwalker draws the outlines of its "safe place", reminding us that in this consumer society that keeps us on our toes, only empathy can enable us to truly live.

"The Ocean" is a 1 minute 09 minute transition, with a very melancholic sound, accentuated by combination of a spoken voice and keyboard. The message "You're not alone in this world" is there again. There is no other transition and no conclusion to the album, so I'm left to think that this is the transition to the new tracks, the real intro to the album.

A contrario, « Follow the Sun », single sorti en juin 2023, attaque très fort. Il laisse par contre au fur et à mesure plus de place à la voix claire, avec parfois des aspects presque « pop ». Cette « douceur » (même si nous ne sommes pas non plus dans une ballade !) me semble soutenir le texte qui parle ici très ouvertement de dépression mais dans un contexte d’espoir autour de thèmes comme la force intérieure ou encore de l’unicité entre les êtres.

"Black Eyes" is a departure from the band's usual pattern, starting with clean vocals for once and then moving on to something really violent. The use of backing vocals contrasts with the codes of the genre. It's a song made for live performance, backed by a heady chorus. The heavy break and almost hardcore vocals make this a highly original track. I really like it.

At the time of writing, the video hasn't yet been released, but it's due out on 16 November.

Where I belong", a two-minute ballad with a very pop-RnB sound, is in a completely different register. Now, everyone knows that I'm extremely picky about ballads. I can't be objective, It's not really my thing.

With 'Dreambound', we're back to a more classic metalcore structure, to which we've added some choppier vocals. There's nothing much to say, except one thing: The influences on this album are much more eclectic than on the EP. The band have taken risks and haven't stuck to one style.

The intro to 'The Forgotten' hooks me straight away. Here again, the vocals border on rapped. But it's heavier. The melodic guitar work in the background is really nice, supported by a calibrated rhythm section. The construction is very particular and very precise at the same time. The clear voice takes its place again. The bridge is inspired by neo metal (good neo I might add) and an almost electro passage gives way to a very, very heavy finale. Here too, I'd put it down as one of the tracks I really enjoy.

BOOM! comes 'Revolution' (a single from 2022 that I missed), which hits the spot right from the start. Once again, the rhythm is excellent. Pathwalker don't rest on their laurels: some passages are almost black, especially the vocal technique. There's a great balance with the clean voice passages that come later in the track. A real favourite.

"Your Own Shadow' brings me back to familiar territory, as it's a single released in 2022. It's a very good song, much more classic in its codes, but it's good to hear again. And I think that subconsciously, with my 'good but not great' level of English, it's the lyrics that are interesting and easy to understand. Contrary to appearances, I feel like it's a deeply optimistic song: Indeed, they explain that our fears, our dark side, is part of us no matter what, and that accepting it, and therefore accepting ourselves, is one of the necessary steps towards a better self, so that we can then reach out to others.

"Start being proud of your shadow", is my new tattoo idea... Your fault, guys! :')

"Your Own Fire' is the latest single, released in September 2023. It too has a more classic structure, but with the more rapped passages that are a bit of a trademark of the tracks released this year. As the title suggests, this track is a bit of a negative mirror image of the previous song. It deals more directly with the problem of depression, although the overall message is: even if we are torn apart on a daily basis, the most important thing is to realise that we are unique and therefore perfect in our entirety.

"Fade Away" closes the album. Even if it's not one of my favourite tracks, it encapsulates the emotional intent of the project. The compo is totally metalcore in structure, but once again, various influences make the track original: the intro sounds electro, the clean vocals sound more pop, the rapped vocals are still present but alternated with very heavy growls (and Pathwalker's growls are reeeeally good). It may sound like some of the other tracks on the album in appearance, but I thnk there's a lot more rage and general emotion here.

A Safe Place To Live presents a profound journey into the inner world of emotions. According to the band, "this album is intended to make listeners feel that they have finally found their home". If you're interested in the lyrics of the songs you're listening to, you'll realise that it's exactly what they’ve done. As you know, this is a big, big plus for me, and one that I find far too rare in today's metal scene.

In terms of songwriting, Pathwalker start from a more classic metalcore base, less angry overall than what you could hear on their first EP. The work on the sounds and the influences still makes this an original album, which seeks to break the codes of a genre in need of renewal.

All in all, there are plenty of reasons not only to discover this band's entire discography, but above all to promote them in our country so that we all finally get the chance to see them live in France!

Elodie Del




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