Portuguese band What Lies Ahead have honed an energetic post-hardcore meets metalcore sound that hits hard while retaining a melodic edge. Portugal may not be renowned for producing metal bands but their combination of clean vocals with powerful guitars and synths means this is very much one to get excited about.
The quartet first started out when Tiago Faria (vocals and guitars) met Gustavo Cunha (guitar) at an Our Last Night show. A few days late, they realised that both played guitar and decided to start a band. They brought in João Oliveira on drums then Rafael Coelho, who’d played in a music project with João, completed the lineup on bass.
The band made its mark with debut single Fake Wounds earlier this year, which was the first track from their debut EP Paradigm, which was released this month. On the sound they’ve created, Rafael tells us: “You can expect heavy and bouncy guitar riffs mixed with catchy and melodic vocals, as well some electronic and even orchestral sounds.”
Fake Wounds opens up with a building guitar riff that explodes into a fun, darting riff over searing synths. It drops into Tiago’s engaging vocals over light instrumentals, then huge stabbing guitars kick in alongside powerful vocals that build up to a big catchy chorus. That ends with a blast of heavy guitars and synths, which feed into an intense verse led by impressive high-pitched vocal, which feeds into another powerful chorus.
A booming guitar riff and driving drums take over, then it drops into light vocals and synth before heavy fast-paced guitars kick in over the vocals “My soul is leaving my body, Why don’t you feel sorry You take our dreams, To keep your sins alive” that bring the track to a close. Check it out in the video below:
Also on the EP is the excellent High Walls, which starts out with light vocals that explode into huge vocals “We stand on the edge of this cold empty fire, In search of the world where we create to inspire” over heavy guitar chords. A cool guitar lick comes in as it feeds into a big chorus.
The intensity continues with Tiago’s engaging vocals, before eventually taking pause for breath with light guitars. Laid-back vocals “Step by step, It’s getting closer, You can see through my eyes, I fear my time is over” come in, heavier guitars join in and those lyrics repeat then give way to a huge final blast of the chorus. The song ends with orchestral strings joined by huge stabbing guitar chords. Check it out in the lyric video here:
There’s more of the same in the excellent Nourish, which includes delicious guitar licks and a fun guitar solo alongside their trademark engaging vocals. And the EP goes out in style with the huge Graves, which opens up with heavy chords and a cool piercing lick. Intense vocals take over and drop back into the opening guitars, before dropping into light vocals and synth sounds. Stabbing guitars kick in then a cool lick over driving drums, which feeds into a big chorus.
On the EP, Rafael tells us: “The reception has been great taking in consideration where we came from and our style. We think it has to do with the catchy choruses mixed with the heavy guitars and not having screams, like you would expect in a band like ours.
Paradigm is our debut EP and it’s a set of songs that we’ve been writing for the past few years that we’ve been growing as a band. We can say that is our starting point and our point of view from various general subjects, going from how we see ourselves, how we see the world and how we see the others.”
The What Lies Ahead sound has been shaped by a diverse range of music, from hiphop, rap and electronic to metal and rock. But the emphasis is on the likes of Linkin Park, Bring Me The Horizon, Architects and other modern metal bands.
And when it comes to what inspires their music, Rafael explains: “At this point we’ve been writing songs about common topics, ranging from personal life stuff to the environmental state of our planet. We always try not to make our lyrics too literal so people can always find their own meaning.”
As alluded to above, we’ve only previously met two Portuguese bands. On their local metal scene, Rafael said: “Particularly modern metal music in the recent years has never had too much attention here in Portugal. There’s not too many bands doing what we are doing but we like too see that as an advantage to stand out and inspire other bands. Although the modern metal scene is pretty small, the Portuguese are die hard fans because they value it much more.”
Expect new music from What Lies Ahead, as well as other content to keep you engaged. As Rafael explains: “We’ve got some cool EP related content to show you very soon so please make sure you follow us on social media. That really helps us to continue to make music, and let us know what you think about Paradigm because we love to talk to our fans.”