There are two types of people in the world: optimists and pessimists. Now, the pessimists among us (of which there are many, if you’re a UK reader) like to claim that music is dying and that the all of the good ideas are gone, left in the hayday of decades passed.
Not so. Sustinere, a hard-rock and punk duo from Chester, UK, are rejuvinating a sleepy north-west music scene with all the effectiveness of jagerbombs for breakfast. The band consists of vocalist and guitarist Rob Jones along with drummer Mike Pearce, who together bring forth a Royal-Blood-esque wall of sound which is almost impossible to achieve with a mere two instruments. It simply must be seen to be believed. Searing riffs and chugging lows ensure a fullness of sound which creates mosh pits to make even the heaviest metalcore band green with envy, no matter how long their vests are.
Sustinere, whether they know it or not, are making a musical statement. The statement being that if you are inventive, passionate and downright electric enough, you can create music regardless of what you have. And in a way, this plays to their strengths. After all, what can you do if you’re offered only a drum kit and a guitar? Many would say: “Look for a bassist and another guitarist,” but that’s, like, totally thinking inside the box, man.
The best answer is to do as much as you can with what you’ve got, and in this regard, Sustinere have undoubtedly succeeded.
The live experience was extremely charged, with the usually artsy and folky Telfords Warehouse venue being ambushed with distortion and crackling snare. Pearce’s drumming is among the best live performances I’ve seen, certainly in Chester. And the crowd loved it. Their EP’s fourth track, ‘Do You Want Me To?’ even triggered a mosh pit, and who else apart from the White Stripes and Royal Blood can claim to have achieved such a feat with two instruments? The breakdown weighs down like a sack of sand as Jones wails ‘You want me like I want you’ with a satisfying and sludgy reverb effect.
But it’s not all aggression. Tracks like ‘You’ employ more peaceful aspects- clean and twangy guitar tones and Matt Bellamy-inspired howling vocals. Jones even performed a particularly soulful Heart Shaped Box cover. It all came together extremely well and left the crowd chanting for ‘One more song!’ by the end.
If you’re in the area, I strongly advise you to take some time to see if these guys are playing and try your best to check them out. And even if you’re not in the area, don’t fret, because I expect them to be touring very soon. Jones told me ‘I’ve been working on this tone for ages,’ and it’s that sort of effort which will see them blow up. You can find their EP here: https://sustinereuk.bandcamp.com/releases