Should they exercise their own proprioceptive sense?
The word ‘proprioception’ means having an understanding of the world around you and your place within the Universe. At least this the definition that Michigan deathcore upstarts And Hell Followed With have chosen to use to name their sophomore album and debut Earache release.
The album tells the story of girl who goes through all kinds of grief before finally realising she’s worthless and killing herself. The idea being that as this girl is suffering all these horrendous events she slowly develops her proprioception which leads to suicide. Sounds like pretty standard death metal lyrical content, but that doesn’t really matter as unless you are actually reading the lyrics it is way too difficult to pick out actual words.
Firstly, and let’s get this out of the way early, this is nothing special and there is almost nothing on this record that isn’t done somewhere else, better. And Hell Followed With deliver pretty by-the-book deathcore, albeit with more breakdowns (!) and some slightly thrashier influences. The best bits come when non-deathcore sounds are introduced, which doesn’t say much for a deathcore band. It’s a bit like Banksy being good rugby at the weekends, nobody really cares as long he’s knocking out good artwork. There is the occasional melodic guitar fill, as on ‘This Night Is The Coroner’s’, and the clean guitar passage (all 30 seconds of it) towards the end of ‘Those Now Sleep Forever’ provides a nice contrast. The rest of the album draws from deathcore luminaries Suicide Silence and Despised Icon.
The best thing about this album is the performance of vocalist Nick Holland, who veers from full on death grunt, to black metal like shrieks via hardcore shouts with consummate ease. The only problem is that you won’t be seeing him with And Hell Followed With any time soon as he’s left to attend College. The band claim that new vocalist Ryan Caudill can match Holland, and even provides greater range. We’ll see.
Back to the album title, Proprioception. Whichever definition And Hell Followed With have chosen to take, the word also has an accepted medical definition. The proprioceptive sense is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body, or cells. It is an introspective sense which allows us to feel the pain and movement of internal organs and things like whether we are moving with the required effort. What And Hell Followed With have done is extended the meaning of ‘the body’ to become a metaphor for the World, and the girl spoken about in the lyrics represents the individual cells referred to in the medical sense of the word.
Maybe the band have considered this metaphor in reference to their own existence. Various conclusions could be drawn depending on what is chosen to represent ‘the body’. If the sub-genre of deathcore is considered as the containing vessel then maybe And Hell Followed With have a valid place, not hugely significant, but they do provide a slight variation on a theme for fans. As soon as bigger musical dimensions are considered such as Heavy Metal, or even Rock music generally, the status of And Hell Followed With rapidly drops and they become an insignificant entity, much like a tiny skin discoloration on the bottom of your foot that you would be hard pressed to notice, much less care about.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle