Half Me – SOMA


In our age of transient culture where fads and trends come and go, and with increasing rapidity, metalcore has proved itself a robust genre. From humble beginnings over two decades ago, it has taken root in metal’s family tree and with new practitioners such as Half Me bursting onto the scene, the future looks equally sure. Their debut album SOMA arrives fully formed and it promises that 2023 will be Half Me’s year.

With a guitar wailing like a warning siren, you’d best take heed because opening shot ‘Wraith’ is a full-on sonic assault, and one that doesn’t take prisoners. Delivering a thick, dense sound, ‘Wraith’ lands as if a succession of hammer blows that shatters skulls, and it offers little in the way of respite. It’s an impenetrable wall of sonics, yet there’s a groove present here that ensures the track, as with much of SOMA, swings from speaker to speaker like a wrecking ball. With barely a pause for breath ‘Trauma Culture’ follows and the lack of space between the two songs only adds to the overall feeling of aggression, meaning that ‘Trauma Culture’ is sure to become an anthem for our fragmented age.

Despite their formative years, Half Me are a band who understand musical dynamics, and while their music often has the feeling of a penny dropped in treacle, there’s moments of light to add contrast. Christopher Zühlke brings an emotive edge with his vocals (reminding me of Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence era Glassjaw) that provides an interesting juxtaposition to the heavy sound and one that delivers a striking dichotomy, and that makes Half Me kind of unique in the genre. With razor sharp precision, the metronomic rhythm provided by drummer Maximilian Eisersdorff and bassist Tobias Max Sajons is mechanical and devoid of soul and is another foil for Zühlke’s humanist singing.

With guitarists Christopher Hesse and Julias Jensen largely forsaking solos, Half Me encase the listener within walls of riffs, with each line delivered another brick entombing you. Aided by a weighty production, SOMA employs lots of tricks to cause dislocation, such as burying the vocals deep in the middle of ‘Outbreak’ and they waft up as if the words of a drowning man. Each track is a hefty blow, so you might feel a little punch drunk with the album’s progression (but in the best way of course) yet there’s redemption at hand with the closing (and title) track ‘Half Me’. Alternating lighter with heavy sections, it makes for a thoughtful conclusion, and one that suggests there’s much more to come from this quintet.

Record label Arising Empire certainly have their finger on metal’s (steely) pulse and they serve up a treat with SOMA, a record that’s sure to set the standard for 2023.

Track List:

  1. Wraith
  2. Trauma Culture
  3. Distort
  4. Magma Hour
  5. Ex Negativo
  6. Zenit
  7. Proxy
  8. Outbreak
  9. Blacklight
  10. I Am But A Guest In Exile
  11. H11 Mitternacht
  12. Half Me