During the last year it has been a time of transition for every band out there. Some musicians have adapted to this in different ways, whether that be doing live streams, working on new material or just planning out what their next step is going to be. But there is a small selection of bands who looked to hit the ground running just as the pandemic hit.
One such band is self proclaimed edge metal band x Regressions x. The quartet had planned out what they wanted their band to sound like, taking influence from '00s-era metalcore bands such as Parkway Drive, and more recently, Bloodbather and Sanction.
All things look set for the band to make a mark on 2020, and their first show with Cauldron and Revolve have got people talking about the UK's latest straight edge export.
But despite the global pandemic putting the breaks on the band's momentum, the four-piece weren't going to let that slow them down, and following the success of their demo released in 2020 the band has now unleashed their EP. The Sins From Which We Abstain, onto the world.
Offering up a mix of melodic metalcore and heavy beatdowns the record really captures an element of aggression which in extremely relatable in these times.
We caught up with the X Regressions X to talk about the UK straight edge scene, how the pandemic has effected them as a band and what is in store for the future.
What does being straight edge mean to you?
Liam (guitar) : For me, straight edge means enhancing your self development and helping yourself with your own mental willpower and health.
Ryan (drums): Straight edge means to have a clear mindset and being in control of yourself.
Patrick (vocals) : You can take responsibility for your actions and decisions without clouding your own judgement. Not falling into the traps of society that a lot of people do, and being able to see it before it happens.
Stob (bass): For me it's about going against the grain, not conforming to society's norm of drink and drug culture. Coming from a family that was heavily involved with drugs, straight edge is my middle finger to living that sort of life.
You follow on from a line of heavy straight edge bands that have come from the UK, so why do you think this heavier sound and straight edge are so aligned in here?
Liam: I'd have to disagree, though there are/were heavy straight edge bands from here, there were lots of faster hardcore punk bands like Survival, Insist, and Breaking Point who were really spearheading the UK straight edge movement a few years ago.
So, I'd say the sound has been passed around a lot, but now metalcore seems to be fashionable with newer heads again.
Stob: I don't necessarily agree with the whole straight edge and heavy music going hand in hand, if you look back the face of straight edge has always been the hardcore punk scene, I think there's an emergence of really good heavy straight edge music in recent years, you look at bands like Survival and you look at us, we're a whole different beast but with the same message and ethos.
You have done a lot of collaboration merch raising money for different causes, why do you think it is important for hardcore bands to do things like this?
Patrick: Hardcore has always been about solving problems and working together when we all can—we're not in this for internet clout or money.
There are a lot of throwback elements to your music, do you feel that more people are finding a more nostalgic sound appealing to the music they consume?
Liam: Shoutout Of Mice & Men.
Patrick: A lot of our influences come from the music that we listened to when we were younger, so it's nostalgic to us and therefore reflected in our musical output.
Stob: This is fully due to Patrick and Liam listening to nothing but scene kid music. Next question [laughs]. But seriously, we all listen to music from that era, it bleeds into what we output musically.
There is quite a leap from your demo to The Sins From Which We Abstain. What would you say was the biggest change for you as a band?
Patrick: The first demo was recorded over a weekend via video call (due to the ongoing restrictions with COVID) with 2 of the members. The EP had a lot more time and effort put into it, and it certainly shows on the finished product.
Stob: I think Patrick and Liam really nailed the tracking of the EP, even in lockdown when we couldn't meet up as a band, they brought what was in their head into reality amazingly well.
Also having someone like Jack Dunn working with us was amazing, he helped us so much during the recording/mixing process and he brought that little bit of something to it. We're super stoked to have a working relationship with him because he's an amazing guy.
Can you talk us through some of the themes and inspirations for The Sins From Which We Abstain?
Patrick: Lyrically, a big part of the EP was trying to encapsulate what the band was about as a whole when it came to being straight edge, but a lot of it also came down to what was going on at the time while writing.
A majority of the EP was written during the first UK national lockdown and we were reflecting on our surroundings and own personal opinions on the situation at hand. Disavow was written as a stance on what straight edge means to us and came later in the year.
What has it been like being a band which has existed predominantly in lockdown?
Liam: It sucked, but with the circumstances it forced us all to work hard and try to do everything else that we can—constantly working behind the scenes as best we can and it hasn't hindered us as much as we initially thought it would.
It's allowed us to write songs that we like rather than music out for the sake of it, because we've had to slow down and think about what music gets put out - quality over quantity.
Patrick: The lockdown situation has gave us a lot of time to look at ourselves musically and evolve and develop through music.
Ryan: The lack of shows has meant that we can refine what we have and work on it to improve for when shows are back.
Stob: It's been different, but I feel like we've been working harder than we would be if we weren't in lockdown. We're in regular calls, we ping ideas off each other and we're a close-knit unit.
I think it's been a blessing in disguise as we've took it in our stride and evolved as, not only a band, but as people. Lockdown's been busy for us but we're laying the foundation for what's yet to come.
What do you think the state of UK hardcore will be when we come out of lockdown?
Liam: I think everyone will be raring to go—venues are in danger and the scene will be teeming with shows and bands wanting to play gigs.
Patrick: Essentially, more bands have formed and more people have got into hardcore over the lockdown, it'll be sick and shows will be really busy. The heads who stay at home and don't care about shows normally will hopefully wake up and smell the coffee and realize what they've been missing out on.
Stob: I'm hoping we get more people coming to shows, more people starting bands and it could be a cool time to be part of the hardcore scene as a whole.
What can we expect to see from x Regressions x once the world starts turning again?
Patrick: We're playing UKHC Returns alongside a fully UK hardcore lineup, supporting Cro-Mags in our hometown Newcastle, and there are a lot of future plans for shows that we are discussing and moving forward with. Musically, it's back to the drawing board for the next releases.
Stob: The world starts turning again, we take over it.
The Sins From Which We Abstain is available now on cassette and digitally via Blasphemour Records.
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