Hard rock and metal are intricately connected, but when they’re driven by a melodic center, they rope into the realm of pop rather seamlessly – as is demonstrated so well in the new single “Soul Shredding” from Proof of Life. While these guys are certifiably underground, the way they attack the riff in this track is anything but understated, and if you’re a fan of melodic hard rock with a metallic edge, this is the kind of single I would expect you to have on your radar as 2022 becomes 2023. As much as some would tell us rock is dead, this is a track determined to convince us otherwise.
The guitar parts are not a minor feature in “Soul Shredding,” but instead live up to the depth of the song title quite well. There’s not a lot of overindulgences when it comes to solos, but the general push of the riffing is something to marvel at if you’ve got the right speakers for the experience. 2022 was remarkably underwhelming in terms of rock output, and a piece of this muscularity stands out all the more because of it, but not specifically due to the lack of competition.
I like that the mix is splitting up the guitars and the drums rather than piling everything on top of us at once, and had a different scheme been employed, I can’t say for sure whether or not the melodic properties here would be as noticeable as they are. Ultimately, I don’t get the impression that this is a band unfocused on harmonic qualities – after all, if this were the case, I don’t think they would be investing as much in the hook we find in “Soul Shredding” as they inevitably do. This isn’t common for this era, but it’s refreshing and an attention-getter.
The pulse of the bass is a bit strong in a couple of moments here, but I get the overall presence the band was trying to capture by giving the bottom end as much of a punch as they did. There’s nothing worse than rock that can’t move us as much as a qualified dance track can, and although this song wasn’t designed to bring us onto the dancefloor, there’s a crunch that gets into our chest as much as a strong hit of smoke would, which is more than I can say for the majority of rock coming out of the mainstream right now.
Their road ahead is long and intimidating – particularly for those who don’t have the kind of skillset this bunch is bringing into the recording studio with them – but I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing even better content from Proof of Life as they solidify their formula and find a proper audience through which they can communicate their sonic message. This is a band that wants to rock hard but without losing any of the melodic elements essential to a pop concept, which is certainly epic from a critical perspective as well as that of a fan.