Welsh hardcore heroes Bastions are back with their first release since their critically acclaimed debut album Hospital Corners. Bedfellows Part 1: The Bastard Son is the first piece of a two-part EP and sees the band slow things down considerably to allow for more calculated, doom-like heaviness in a similar to vein to The Great Unwashed from the band’s Island Living EP.
Bedfellows Part 1 might be the first part in a two-part release but this EP in itself also feels like two releases stitched together. Two of the tracks continue Bastions’ tried-and-tested hardcore punk formula with devastating effect, while the other two explore Bastions’ sludgy and catchier side. The two punky tracks come in the form of With Love and Life Less Lived. These two songs will be familiar territory for Bastions fans as they both tear their way through your eardrums at a fantastic pace and sound like they could have sat comfortably in the track list of Bastions’ debut album. This type of hardcore might be familiar but Bastions do it better than anybody.
Where things really become interesting is with the slower-paced Pallor and Amongst Crows. Instrumentation is nowhere near as technical as the previously mentioned songs but the music is big on atmosphere. Both songs create an eerie bleakness that is vast in scale and also features the most memorable song-writing in Bastions’ back catalogue. Bastions might be kings of hardcore but these two songs prove there’s an awful lot more to them then mosh-pits and riffs.
The only thing that works against this EP is that by the end of it all it really does feel like a small part of a bigger work. When Amongst Crows draws its’ final breath you’ll be left gasping for more and at only 11 minutes long you’ll understand why. Amongst Crows builds and builds and leads the listener to the start of what sounds like an explosive finale before ending the release on a massive cliffhanger.
Bastions have offered up an intriguing start to what might be a far better release when the second part arrives. Bedfellows Part 1: The Bastard Son sees the band explore exciting new territory that doesn’t feel out of place against the band’s familiar hardcore style. It’s a shame then that at only 4 tracks long, Bedfellows Part 1 cuts itself short just as it begins to pick up its’ pace. Watch this space because when Part 2 rolls around, we may have another stunning addition to Bastions’ already brilliant discography.
Bastions’ Bedfellows Part 1: The Bastard Son is available to buy on vinyl from Holy Roar Records now.