June 8, 2020 Lightworker – Fury By Failure (Album Review)
Back in August 2017, CrypticRock.com spotlighted a young Metal band called Lightworker, who had just delivered their debut EP, Resilience. Well, now the boys are back with their full-length debut, Fury By Failure, which arrives Friday, June 12, 2020, via Solid State Records.
Combining infectious hooks with vicious sonic might, and the technical prowess of all things Prog Metal, San Francisco’s Lightworker have been blazing their path since 2014. While their earliest days consisted of several name changes and multiple line-up reconfigurations, the band persevered through all the challenges. By summer 2017, they were releasing their aforementioned debut EP, and steadily earning a positive name for themselves. Sharing stages with the likes of Wage War, The Ghost Inside, Bad Seed Rising, and Varials only furthered their cause, allowing the quartet to display their creative unity and mutual passion for all things heavy.
And now it’s here: the crowning achievement, their debut full-length, Fury By Failure. For the 10-track LP, Lightworker—Vocalist Joe Calderon, Guitarist/Backing Vocalist/Programmer Grayson Hurd, Bassist Brad Green and Drummer Ryan Johnson—are both raw and refined, balancing melody and aggression alongside the light and dark of their lyrical poetry. In fact, their self-proclaimed goal is to “offer a quiet sense of hope in a blisteringly broken world, proving heavy music can carry a lightness all its own.”
Fury By Failure opens to a tension build that escalates into “Empyre,” rumbling forth with a howl from Calderon as the entire band detonates, combining pummeling riffs with massive hooks. The perfect introduction to this talented young band, it’s accessible in its catchiness while still remaining decidedly heavy. This continues as they race into the even heavier assault of “The Willing Martyr,” featuring Daniel Gailey of Fit For A King and Phinehas. Coupling brutal percussion with Hurd’s glittering guitar work, the track forces the listener to reach beyond the surface of its lyrical prose.
Changing it up early on in the game, acoustic guitar kicks off the radio-ready power ballad “10/18.” Here, big, bold melodies allow Calderon to display his range, as his bandmates show off their own diversity—and Hurd caps it all off with a killer solo. Fading into silence, next, they pick up the pace for the catchy middle finger salute of “See the World Like You.” Vacillating between a steady stomp and throbbing percussion, the song sees Lightworker offering up a promise to always see and think for themselves.
One could say that there are some delicious Hardcore notes in the gritty “Words Dissolve,” which features Fit For A King’s Ryan Kirby as it hammers a wall of sound into the listener’s chest. Fists pumping, it takes the boys to new heights on rocker “Losing Ground”—featuring Carley Coma of Candiria—as this soaring infectiousness shows that Lightworker is definitely ready for radio play. (Are you paying attention, Octane?) But they’re not afraid to continue to change things up, breaking out the acoustics yet again for the start of “Cholera,” which spotlights guest vocalist Laura McElroy of Comrades.
Fury By Failure, however, is a Metal album and that is abundantly clear as the collection winds to a close. For example, the percussive might and droning guitars that open “Remove The Earth” lead to catchy choruses capped off with gang vocals, creating a powerful anthem for those fighting for hope. And everything that makes the song such an earworm is escalated in “Beyond The Pale.” Ultimately, however, the quartet choose to end with the slightly gentler pace of “Dissonance,” a lofty journey through the hope-filled heavens that combines all the very best elements of the band into one epic sayonara.
With the technical prowess of Prog Metal, the lush melodies of Post-Hardcore and Metalcore, and so very much more, Lightworker author a debut album that is full of hope though dark with reality. From start to finish, these Californians offer sonic diversity and intelligently poetic thoughts that coalesce into a sophisticated sound that could easily see them sharing stages with everyone from August Burns Red to Avenged Sevenfold. Proving that Lightworker is a hot commodity, and a name you should know, Cryptic Rock gives Fury By Failure 4.5 of 5 stars.