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A Sight For Sewn Eyes

The clichéd idea of finding a “diamond in the rough” is one that quite aptly describes
stumbling upon Halifax’s A Sight For Sewn Eyes. Canada’s east coast, while certainly
not short on musical talent, is far from a hotbed of heavy music; however, with ASFSE
now set to stake their claim in new territories across Canada and beyond with their
upcoming full-length, Alone Together, there may be a healthy amount of loud musicloving
eyes and ears turning towards the Atlantic.

Alone Together, set to drop on Distort on June 26, 2012, is an expertly-executed
collage of components from various styles of contemporary heavy music. Incorporating
everything from the manic tempos of NYC hardcore, to the delightfully dissonant
rhythmic onslaught of early metalcore pioneers like Norma Jean and Beloved, to more
melodic musings that border on post-rock, ASFSE offers up a sampling of influential acts
who’ve preceded them in a formula that’s all their own. That seemingly pure and
perfectly-balanced hybrid of so many identifiable parts could very well be the result of
relative isolation from similarly-sounding acts on the coast.

Meeting in grade school, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Benoit and guitarist John
Walsh started what would become ASFSE in 2007 while still in junior high. Over the
following few years the band’s current lineup would take shape, beginning with vocalist
Josh Hanusiak and drummer Ben Leathem and ending with the latest addition in bassist
Ben Brennan.

The early years found the five-piece putting it all forward on any stage that would
have them and, slowly but surely, people started to take notice. As the band’s sound and
stage presence began to develop, so too did their following in and around their home
market – both at a rather rapid pace. The culmination of that development was their
independent four-song debut EP, 2011’s Nonsense. The release was the perfect primer for
what was to come and only reinforced what many had already discovered for themselves
– that ASFSE brought something significant and special to the scene.

Alone Together picks up right where Nonsense left off, showcasing the band’s
now-cemented sound – a flurry of ferocious riffing, maniacal time shifts, and merciless,
in-your-face vocals. From the unrelenting breakneck pace of tracks like “You Have No
Idea” and “That Night At Dom’s” to the more textured and intricate bits like the bridge of
“Burnt Out,” Alone Together is a well-rounded and notably mature offering from this
young quintet and its organic yet precise production style paints an accurate picture of
what the band can deliver from the stage.

ASFSE have already logged a healthy amount of miles on the road, touring
alongside contemporaries like Structures, Counterparts, and label-mates Cancer Bats, all
of whom – the Bats in particular – have offered a great deal of support to the young
Maritime metalers during their formative years.

The band has been able to amass a following and build national excitement from a
region relatively barren of aggressive audio. Because of that, and the fact that Alone
Together will undoubtedly beckon fans on its own merits, the hard part might already be
behind them. There may be plenty left to build, but it’ll all be atop an extremely solid
foundation that ASFSE has worked tirelessly to forge in a remarkably short time.

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