As a teenager in the early 2000s, I found my identity through alternative music and felt a kinship with the Australia hardcore scene. I’ve long since mellowed out and as I enter my 30’s I find myself listening to less heavy music. Newcastle hardcore band Trophy Eyes‘ sophomore album, ‘Chemical Miracle’, took my arm, twisted it and thrust it into the grave I’d buried that past in long ago.
Trophy Eyes don’t pull any punches as they open with Chlorine, the first single from the album. It is a heart-breaking track about two loose acquaintances, one who saves the other from drowning in a swimming pool only to take their own life over a girl. It is full of melody, echoing harmonics, mosh-inducing riffs and, like many tracks from ‘Chemical Miracle’, anthemic choruses. “I’m still breathing…” will undoubtedly reverberate around many hardcore venues across the world.
The album draws comparisons to early 2000s bands like Saosin, With Honor and even folk groups such as The Appleseed Cast taking listeners on a rollercoaster ride through classic hardcore heyday sounds. Nose Bleed is easily one for the repeat button as the catchy “woah-ohs” are as sweet as a peppermint candy at Christmas. Rain on Me brings Trophy Eyes’ as close to thrash as they steer on ‘Chemical Miracle’; chaotic drums and jarring guitar drive the song between unexpected softer interludes, perfect for the mosh.
Short mid-album track Chemical echoes The Warriors ‘War is Hell’ circa 2006 though doesn’t verge into another copycat sound like the said Californian act with ‘Beyond the Noise’. It leads nicely into Breathe You In, an almost poppy rock track and Trophy Eyes’ second single release. It’s a departure from the previously heavy tracks but it’s memorable chorus is easy to digest and daresay dance along to.
Suicide Pact hearkens back to those early 2000s yet again, reigniting memories of Saves The Day (albeit faster and heavier) and is bound to be someone’s summer driving anthem. That outro…. wow!
Trophy Eyes, whether purposely or not, have delivered an epic, melodic and nostalgia-heavy album with ‘Chemical Miracle’. While it’s not breaking any new ground in the Australian hardcore scene, it’s catchy as fuck and brings back some oh-so delicious memories.