Bands like Parkway, The Amity Affliction, Northlane and In Hearts Wake have long put Australian metalcore on the map, but a vibrant, albeit less prolific, prog scene, led by heavyweights Karnivool, has been bubbling just underneath the radar Down Under for years. Now with bands like Voyager, Circles and Caligula’s Horse taking the genre to new heights, Aussie prog is in rude health and finally taking its place in the spotlight.
Of the emerging crop, Melbourne quintet Figures are one of the most promising bands leading the charge, boasting a sound that’s a muscular prog amalgamation of churning, drop-tuned riffs, scintillating melodies and multi-layered density that simultaneously recalls Deftones, Tool and Incubus. “Yeah, that is basically the pyramid right there – although each one of those influences takes its turn on the top,” says vocalist Mark Tronson when asked to try and pin down the band’s sound. “I get compared to Brandon [Boyd, Incubus frontman] a lot with my vocal style.”
“That’s the pyramid, but if we were to call it a pentagon we would also throw in A Perfect Circle and Karnivool,” adds guitarist Simon ‘Simmo’ Edgell. “We could sit in a room and agree that they are five bands that we love very dearly and have listened to intently. They’re the main ingredients in the Figures dish.”
After meeting online on Melband, a website that Mark describes as “Tinder for bands”, and undergoing a couple of line-up changes, there’s a real sense the quintet are now beginning to hit their stride with their new EP, Chronos. Both sonically and lyrically, it’s a heavy listen, preoccupied with the passing of time and knotted with a sense of anxiety, nostalgia and regret. In particular, lead single Recoil is dedicated to Mick Mills, a close friend of the band who died earlier this year after a nine-month battle with lymphoma. “When I first met him I could never have thought this young man would be dead at the age of 27,” says Simmo, sadly. “I knew that his days were numbered getting closer towards our release and it was probably only a week or so to go until his favourite song, Recoil, would have been released. So time is a topic that’s been weighing heavy in the Figures camp for a while.”
Up until now the band have never toured outside of their hometown, but with an EP as strong as Chronos in the bag and ready to go, you get the feeling that is set to change. “The songs we went into the studio with came out different to what we all expected,” explains Simmo. “Yeah, they became greater versions of what we expected,” agrees Mark. “We’ve planted the seed and now we are watching it grow.”
CHRONOS IS OUT NOW