Album review: Dying Wish – Symptoms Of Survival

Fast-rising Portland metalcore quintet Dying Wish swing for the big leagues on mighty second album.

Album review: Dying Wish – Symptoms Of Survival
Olly Thomas

When heavy bands turn up the melody quotient, it can be a sign of welcome evolution, or a shameless attempt at moving up the ladder. For Oregon’s Dying Wish, already making a fearsome name for themselves courtesy of 2021 debut Fragments Of A Bitter Memory, the attention-grabbing dynamics of sequel Symptoms Of Survival feel like an entirely natural progression.

That’s not to say that this is an album in any way short on crushing heaviness. The breezeblock chug of the title-track, Prey For Me’s head-nod hardcore and the irresistibly swinging Hell’s Final Blessing are all utterly ferocious. That Dying Wish are keen to operate in other modes, and that this is something to be celebrated, is made clear on Watch My Promise Die, first when the tune pivots to a catchy, driving metal riff and then with vocalist Emma Boster’s switch from no-nonsense holler to soaring melody. The latter juxtaposition is used to great effect on Path To Your Grave and Lost In The Fall, and while this is inevitably a talking point, the band’s increasing accessibility is also fuelled by the catchiness of Sam Reynolds and Pedro Carrillo’s guitar work, which calls back through New England metalcore to Gothenburg melodeath on tracks like the raging Kiss Of Judas.

Perhaps the starkest moment is Paved In Sorrow, using a balladic form to confront guilt and abuse. This lyrical honesty, wielded throughout Symptoms Of Survival whether discussing personal trauma or wider social issues, might be the best argument for Dying Wish being the real deal. But not the only one: every aspect of this thrilling album is shot through with brutal conviction and righteous fury. The future is theirs.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Knocked Loose, Killswitch Engage, Unearth

Symptoms Of Survival is out now via SharpTone

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