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.