Continuum – A Better Way (EP Review)

Hailing from Brisbane, Continuum play a no-nonsense brand of modern rock with heavy guitars and a solid rhythm section. Despite playing together since 2005, the bands’ new EP, ‘A Better Way’, represents their first recorded work. Certainly looking to make their mark on the Aussie music scene, this Brisbane power trio has come out of the gates with a solid four-track offering that shows flashes of good things to come.

Unfortunately the opener, ‘And What If…’, didn’t get things going on a high note for me. The song is built around a couple of variations of the one riff, and while it is a solid rock riff, this doesn’t make for the most interesting listen of the EP. It must also be said that it almost sounds like the band is going through the motions with this number, as the fire and energy flowing from the band through the remaining tracks is largely missing here. Not a bad track by any means, but not one that will stick with you for long, and the weakest here in this reviewer’s opinion. The EP really kicks into high gear with track two ‘Reflection Calling’. A pummelling opening passage gives way to a really strong rocker filled with some great crunchy riffs. This fantastic high energy track also features the first lead guitar work of the EP. While there’s no guitar wizardry to be found here, the solo section is well composed and fits the track like a glove. I’m almost tempted to say this track should’ve been the one to open the EP.

Things continue in a similar fashion with track three, ‘Independent Play’. This track is full of heavy riffs, and a really solid groove, accentuated by the super-tight playing of the rhythm section. More great guitar leads in this one too. The band’s guitarist/vocalist, Darren Youngberg, seems to have a real knack for composing simple but supremely effective leads that really boost the overall tracks. These two tracks are the sort of music I’d love to hear more of from the band. The EP closes with ‘Sorry’, a bit of a deviation from the rest of the EP as this one is driven by an acoustic guitar. This one is almost like a ballad but is a very effective track that makes for a nice change of pace from the hard rockers making up the rest of the EP, and a fitting closer for the release.

The production is a bit of a mixed bag here, as can often be the case with self-releases. From listening to the EP, it sounds as if the instruments were all recorded digitally, with guitars running direct to the board and the drums either being programmed or triggered. The overall sound of the EP remains solid for a self-release, with the guitars having a nice solid crunch to them, the bass packing a punch with a well-defined sound, and the drums sounding suitably punchy, there are moments where the digitisation of the guitars and especially the drums is quite apparent. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, I would’ve loved to hear these tracks with a more organic sound. The mix is also a little dry for my tastes. I feel a touch more reverb would really liven these recordings up. Overall though, I’m really just nitpicking here, and for a self-release, the production is more than acceptable.

While I’ll be the first to admit my listening habits don’t include a lot of this brand of rock, and this isn’t a release I’m likely to have on repeat for weeks on end, I found a lot to enjoy in ‘A Better Way’, with the bulk of this release making a very solid listen for this reviewer. A solid first effort from these guys, and a short, sharp dose of hard-hitting rock that should kill in a live setting.

Label: self-released
Category: EP
Country: Australia

Reviewed by Matt S.