Metal fans, rejoice. Hard rock devotees will enjoy the new record by Holy Beach, All That Matters Is This Matter as well, but there’s little question in my mind after a few listens to this release that Holy Beach are a dyed in the wool metal act. Songwriter and vocalist John Lally proves capable of transitioning from his role in the shoegaze band Sleep Therapy and doesn’t miss a beat as a metal singer. His voice shows outstanding flexibility throughout the entirety of All That Matters Is This Matter. Drummer Jordan Hershaft and bassist Kevin Faivre complement the musical support Lally receives from guitarists Mike Gibbs, Jason Petty, and Jon Hilton.
One of the best examples of how well this band gels comes with “Ships Off The Coast” Lally’s vocals and the instruments alike lock in together from the first notes. The production is likewise on point from the start and its emphasis on a fat six-string sound and mammoth bottom end makes for an intense listening experience. The instrumental “Fade Away” is short and serves as connective tissue in a way linking the opener to the album’s third song “It’s The Fear”. The third track slows the pace in comparison to the first tune, but “It’s The Fear” has a steady pace that pulls listeners along and the vocals are often reminiscent of Lally’s roots in the shoegaze genre. The guitars are as big as ever, but the riffing isn’t quite as memorable as we hear with the album opener.
“Incest in the Herd” throws a withering glare at modern society with a menace filled primary riff and grinding verses. Those verses allow Lally an opportunity to show off his vocal skills in a way the other seven album tracks do not and strengthens the overall presentation. It is a song filled with anger practically exploding out of the speakers. “The New Colossus” has one of the best choruses on All That Matters Is This Matter and, excepting a brief drop off in the second part of the track maintains a straight ahead line of attack from the outset. There are a lot of double-tracked vocals in this song as well.
One of the album’s darkest moments arrives with “International Graves”. The same slow crawl defining songs like “The New Colossus” is a good fit for this performance as well, but Holy Beach tosses in a crucial surprise before the track concludes. It’s a near claustrophobic gem. The closer “Skull Faced on a Horse” brings the album to an end on an uptempo note. Lally’s talent for writing metal riffs stands out for a final time and it is arguably one of the best examples of that skill on the release. Lally’s fierce vocal matches up well with the physical music. The track puts a giant exclamation point on All That Matters Is This Matter and bodes well for the band’s future should they choose to pursue it. This is a project begging for a follow-up and let’s hope it comes soon.