Dying Wish: “We want to become one of the kind of metalcore masters we grew up with”

On explosive 2021 debut Fragments Of A Bitter Memory, Oregon brutalists Dying Wish dug into big themes, both personal and socio-political. For vocalist Emma Boster and her band, though, they’re just puzzle pieces in the broader vision of metalcore’s most ferocious new force…

Dying Wish: “We want to become one of the kind of metalcore masters we grew up with”
Sam Law
Gabe Becerra

When Emma Boster began promoting heavy shows in Portland, Oregon, it was because she believed in her local scene. Having grown up outside the city, the hardcore lifer understood its importance as a haven away from the conservative small-mindedness and inherent racism that plagues much of the rest of the overwhelmingly white Beaver State. So, when Emma’s own band Dying Wish emerged as one of the most exciting from that community, it was only natural that they felt like a product of the same progressive world view.

“Hardcore is a counterculture, not a subculture,” the singer shrugs. “The idea is to be the antithesis to modern society and the oppressiveness that comes along with it. As a band, we’re paying tribute to that early-2000s metalcore sound, but there are lots of messages in our music that people weren’t talking about back then: things that are deeply personal, emotional and political.”

Indeed, 2021 debut Fragments Of A Bitter Memory felt like the ferocious distillation of an ideology that had been taking root since the band formed at a Creeping Death basement show in 2018. Everything from police brutality and anti-colonialism to Emma’s own experiences as a survivor of childhood trauma at the hands of an alcoholic stepfather is dissected across scathing cuts like Innate Thirst and Cold Hearts In Bloom.

Crucially, though, Emma and her bandmates – middle/high school friends Pedro Carrillo (guitar) and Jeff Yambra (drums), one-time band photographer Andrew Le (bass), and “genius” six-stringer/songwriter Sam Reynolds – stress that those beliefs and experiences shouldn’t be seen as their entire identity as a band.

“It’s like when people [pigeonhole] us as ‘female-fronted’,” Emma expands. “Obviously, we are, but that’s not all we are. These things all play their part, but they’re just pieces in the bigger Dying Wish puzzle. The human experience is complex. That’s something we like to reflect.”

Drawing comparisons to heroes like Prayer For Cleansing, Killswitch Engage and The Black Dahlia Murder – on record and with an all-action live show – and having traded features with Knocked Loose as well as holding their own onstage alongside heavyweights like Limp Bizkit, Hatebreed, Motionless In White and Counterparts, belief is still growing. Dying Wish know they can become a Lamb Of God-like household name without abandoning the serrated sound that’s truly theirs.

“I want us to push the limits,” Emma grins. “I want us to be playing to big rooms and being nominated for GRAMMYs while still being authentically us. I love this scene. We all do. And we want to become one of the kind of metalcore masters we grew up with – a legendary act.”

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