Album Review :
The Dwelling - Strive

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Artist: The Dwelling
Title: Strive
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 4/4/15
Reviewer: Scott Swan



  1. Strive
  2. Lesser Lights
  3. Mechanics
  4. Steady hands
  5. The Sweetest Sound


Originally given the working title Mechanics, the finished EP will carry the name Strive which will be available on iTunes April 4. It seems that the band has evolved toward a heavier sound with this release, stripping out much of the lighter guitar work, especially compared to their previous single “Promises” featured here on IVM a few years back. They still mix clean and scream vocals, but the overall composition just bears more of a chunky weightiness that may just signal the band hitting their stride with this record. Genre wise, I place them leaning toward melodic metalcore, with some post hardcore moments, bringing in more of a Life in Your Way vibe a times. 

With the opener, “Strive,” the band dives right into some heavy guitar work while vocalist Daryl Yard brings some well executed, high energy screaming. Interestingly, about half way through, the tune drops the hard pounding and shifts course to bring a more ambient sounding second half. I really enjoy how the band totally changes the atmosphere of the song, incorporating some electronic elements that really work. It’s not often you can have two entirely different styles in one song and still be cohesive. 

“Lesser Lights” has much more of a standard verse/chorus layout, with clean vocals taking much of the chorus lines. Throughout the EP, the band does a nice job using synths and other electronics to make little transitions and interludes; that added component is very evident on this track. Lyrically focusing on how things in life, especially failures, are fruitless without the presence of God in your life. The screamed line, “I cannot stand to cross another valley without You,” encapsulates the subject matter perfectly.

The original title track, at least during the time of their successful IndieGoGo campaign, “Mechanics” starts out with some softer guitars, then eases into a nice pounding groove which never really lets up. I enjoy how through much of the song, there is an “in the background” meandering guitar riff, which really sets the mood. It’s one of those small touches that can really make a song. The track is centered around the idea of making sure we trust God’s leadership in our lives.

A personal favorite for me, “Steady Hands,” begins with some light guitar chimes and muted screams. The songs then gets to a point where the writer thinking he has “pushed God away,” starts into some of the heaviest pounding on the record. But upon finding grace, the music turns more melodic matching the theme found into the lyrics. I loved the way the emotion of lyrics rode on top of the waves created by the music, well done.

The “Sweetest Sound,” for the band is the fact the even though we are sinners and often times are found falling short, the Father stills calls us sons (and daughters.) A theme that certainly hits home with me and one of great meaning to anyone you strives to follow Christ. The definitive sound of “amazing grace” finishes the album off in an grace-filled, uplifting fashion.

Overall: I feel there is much to be found in this record for lovers of heavy music. The band does a great job incorporating different elements that help develop the songs which never seem to settle in any repetitive form. Even if you don’t care for clean vocals in your metalcore, I think there are things here you will want to hear. Full of uplifting themes which are shadowed so well by the grooves, this band demonstrates a talent and promise which this record aptly proves.

RIYL: Life in Your Way, The Devil Wears Prada, Akissforjersey