By Jonah Ruddock
After two promising EPs, As Everything Unfolds released their first full-length, Within Each Lies the Other, on March 26th. Hailing from High Wycombe, this six-piece band already has a surprisingly mature sound, and the diversity of their songs leaves us anticipating an interesting future discography. Surrounded by a well-deserved hype, Within Each Lies the Other will find fans in many different musical communities for its artful combination of styles.
A feature of this album I especially enjoyed was the overarching lyrical narrative. The album’s lyrics tell a story of a hidden shame, an “illness unseen to the naked eye.” The speaker takes us through the painful process of dredging up a buried identity and coming to terms with it, one that leaves them vulnerable. Although exploring layers of desolation, anxiety, and hopelessness, the album also contains patches of hope and endurance with lines like: “We will live to see the day our souls unwind / we will live to see the day the darkness dies.”
It opens with “On the Inside,” an infectious track almost reminiscent of pop punk. It may take a few listens for you to realize how much of a bop this is, but persevere. It’s a song that challenges your sensibilities, daring you to like it while at the same time warning you that As Everything Unfolds is not the straight ahead post-hardcore band you may have expected. It followed the absolutely smashing “Take Me There” and “Wallow,” tunes that display vocalist Charlie Wolfe’s talent for both rough and clean vocals as well as the band’s formidable songwriting abilities. “Wallow” properly introduces us to the desperation of the speaker’s journey: “Get me out of this place, get me out / I revel in your misery, I live for your tragedy / you broke me down, you wore me out / had no faith, just threw me about / I whisper, I shout, I scream.”
“Take Me There” tells a story of confinement and resistance, as well as exploring what we can define as a sin. “We shall not stand in cages / we won’t live words from pages” and “your holy words are nothing but you still try / sweet comfort in your close kept lie” are just some of the phrases that make this tune stand out. It has an addictive chorus and a charging energy that is almost beastly.
Favorites: Hiding From Myself, Wallow, I’m Not the Only One
Least favorites: Stranger In the Mirror, Grayscale
“All my darkest fears arе laid out one by one / a victim of my mind and it’s only just begun / it creeps up on you, it drags you down / I won’t let it wear this hollow crown,” Wolfe sings in “Stranger In the Mirror.” Although lyrically poignant and adding to the narrative of self-discovery, this tune and “Grayscale” are my personal least favorites. They lack the edge that the others have and are significantly softer (although “Grayscale” features a slightly redeeming ending). It’s a good thing, then, that these songs are broken up by “I’m Not the Only One.” It’s one of the most powerfully hopeful songs on the LP, juxtaposing sadness and isolation with a bright future. “Let’s do it right on each other’s parts / and feel weightless in each other’s thoughts.” Instead of I, this song is sung in terms of we, adding to the promise of unity to the light at the end of the tunnel — but, more important than all of this, it’s a fantastic tune. It’s somehow sweeping and melodic while being headbang-worthy at the same time. The skills of drummer Jamie Gowers are perhaps most noticeable here.
“Stay” is an upbeat track about progress and recovery. “Don’t tell me who I am / I am not ashamed anymore,” Wolfe sings in a style that can only be described as bouncy. One of the most genre-bending songs on the album, the chorus resembles a run-of-the-mill pop song, while some of the verses are broken up by throaty screams. “Let Me Go” is more somber, wailing, “I’m so sick of the dark.” It has an almost cinematic feel to it. Guitars growl just beneath the surface before exploding at the end.
“Hiding From Myself” is arguably the most popular song As Everything Unfolds has ever written, and for good reason. What a banger. Charlie Wolfe shows off her vocal prowess while guitarists Adam Kerr and Owen Hill shred magnificently in the background. It takes us through anger, frustration, and despair, and the lyrics read like an open letter to the mask the speaker has forced themself to wear.
The album finishes with the moving “One Last Time” and “Wither.” I know I’m not the only one excited for them to have the opportunity to play these two live. As with all sadness in As Everything Unfolds’ songs, they’re backed by an unflinching strength. It seems fitting that the album doesn’t end on a cheerful note, instead showing that the struggle is not yet over. “I feel I don’t deserve this life,” is the wrenching recurring lyric of “Wither.” There is nothing dishonest about Within Each Lies the Other. Every piece of hope is hard-fought.
Overall, the album is definitely worth a listen, although I wish it had been more consistently heavy. I respect how the band explores a variety of styles, and I hope they’ll remain in that creative grey area in the future, keeping us all on our toes. After hearing Within Each Lies the Other, it’s not unfounded to predict that Charlie Wolfe’s explosive vocal talent matched with Adam Kerr’s insane songwriting skills might just make As Everything Unfolds one of the big names in the UK metal scene one day.