I had the thought that someone needs to tell Relent to share, as the Texas nu-metal rockers gear up to release Heavy (their second full length album with Rockfest Records). It’s hardly fair to other bands for Relent to continue raising the bar with this much consistent talent and skill, but they show no signs of letting up the pressure.
In their own words, this album “is an anthem for the hurting. It’s a story of trauma… tribulation… therapy. Heavy is the album that says, ‘I’m going to walk with you through that.'” With a sound that parallels the nu-metal grit of P.O.D. and Islander, Relent takes those rhythms and flows to another level while tackling themes of (as the album artwork hints) lust, anger, addiction, mental health, and suicide. It is, as the name suggests, a heavy album in both its musicality and lyricism.
Whether it’s the way vocalist Miggy Sanchez seamlessly shifts from delightful melody to aggressive shouts, to effortless hip-hop flows, or the stellar drumming of Gaston Flores that perfectly complements the fretwork of guitarists Chris Castillo and Joshua Paccione, this album is a cohesive force to be reckoned with. The similarities to the bands mentioned above are true and easy to make, but Relent is filling a major gap in the music scene with their own blend of powerful melody, chunky riffs pushing nu-metal to its extremes, and hard-hitting messages of hope in the middle of abject despair.
With familiar tracks like “Low” and “Last Days” on the record, it’s clear that Relent’s direct approach to their themes will be a prominent feature. There’s no hesitation to dive into the deep and dark elements of life. This theme of boldly facing challenging themes is especially noticed in the title track, “Heavy.” An incredibly raw track based off of extremely traumatic experiences that Miggy’s wife went through, it expresses the weight that trauma can bring. The most heavily hip-hop influenced track on the album sees Miggy flowing with ease as he addresses the pain of holding on: “Why does this feel so heavy? How much time do I need? I cannot take the pressure; this feels like forever.”
The bridge of the track lays out the heart of the album: “Your head hurts and your heart hurts, so let’s talk about it. And the pain’s real, and it won’t heal, so let’s talk about it.” This song puts that on a brilliant display their assertion that this album is one for people to lean on, that they’re going to walk with people through their trauma.
“Ghost” is another track that fans will be familiar with as it skyrocketed into a top-five hit for the band. With its interesting take on the Holy Spirit, the track is an easy standout, and one of the clearest expressions of the band’s faith on the album. Describing the experience as a haunting and possession (not inaccurate), the band surrenders their will because of the possession: “On and on the story goes, possessing me inside / It speaks to me and tells me things, I have nowhere to hide… / I won’t stop ’til the ghost says so.” The track is a fresh expression of nu-metal, as well, and shows that Relent has a strong grasp of how to pull off this style in a way that is fresh and needed.
Heavy is an album that you can lean on, rock with, relate to, and emote through. In fact, getting through this album without being moved emotionally is near-impossible. The band’s determination to face the dark in all its weight is what sets this album above many of its contemporaries. Relent’s raw take on loss, mental health, anger, and hypocrisy is gripping. It manages to push into a realism that borders on uncomfortable, but is so worth the journey. Relent invites you on that journey with the assurance that they’re with you every step of the way.
Heavy is available on all platforms October 1st, 2021.