Album Review: Introvert – “What Was Your Exit Plan?” (Deathcore)

Written by Ridley

Introvert – What Was Your Exit Plan?
Deathcore from Pennsylvania, USA
Release 18th February 2022

“How the fuck can I save a life when I can’t even save myself?”

Metalcore is a divisive genre without a doubt. Like most things heavy, people seem to either firmly despise it, or love it as if it were their own child. And it makes sense, considering the sheer vastness of the genre- bands range in sound from Hatebreed clones to the most annoying crabcore, so hatred for some bands and styles is bound to come in droves. And then… we have Nu Metal. Now I’ll say upfront that I am an avid Nu Metal apologist, and if that turns you off from the rest of this review, that’s entirely valid.

Unsurprisingly, the crossover of Nu Metal and Metalcore was inevitable. It’s the even uglier, more anxious, and more fed-up little brother of two titans of tell-all lyricism- and, for the most part, it rules. Imagine if Korn or early Slipknot experimented with Drop G guitars and breakdowns that, admittedly, make little sense but still crush skulls, and boom: a legion of midwestern Metalcore bands started embracing mental illness and wearing their hearts on their sleeves (usually slim fitting black dress shirts. Nu Metal has a uniform hobby, after all!), all the while writing one-string bounce riffs and dizzying grooves for days on end. Whether it be Chicago’s Sworn In or Yuth Forever, Australia’s Alpha Wolf, or the subject of today- Michigan’s own Introvert- Nu Metalcore is an angry, anxious, and annoyingly catchy flavor of the Metalcore Meat Market. Bad pun, I know.

It’s been just over four years since Introvert gave us their last offering to oppressive self-hatred in the form of 2017’s “A Collection of Failed Attempts to Breathe”, and vocalist/drummer Connor Welsh and multi-instrumentalist Eric Fletcher have taken that time to develop what was, at one point, plain and simple Yuth Forever worship into a distinct, recognizable sound all their own. Whereas ACoFAtB was menacing, WWYEP? is, quite simply, fucking horrifying. Welsh has always been a stellar vocalist, but the last four years between albums has seen him fully come into his own and develop a range that genuinely put a chill down my spine. He is vicious here, barking, screaming, and bellowing his way through all eleven slabs of suffering given to us here. Whether it be his entirely solo efforts like “The Life and Death of Sad Max” (yet another entry in the Sad Max franchise, and my personal favorite to date), or the absolutely jaw dropping way he slithers in between the absolutely stacked roster of featured guests (including appearances from Matthew of Martyr Defiled and Alex of Black tongue) that even offers up a disorienting rap verse from Meredith Henderson of VCTMS, every last lyric across the album is delivered with a very specific kind of grit, the kind that can only come from someone experienced in both suicidality and having to deliver the news of death to families on a daily basis, much like Welsh does in his work as a doctor. Some finer moments include the neck-breaking homage to Yuth Forever in “The Fountain of Youth II” that sports a sinister feature from Deadland’s Jeremy Torres and all the heaviness of the Hulk on bath salts armed to the teeth with nail bats and the aforementioned appearance of Meredith Henderson.

But for every powerhouse vocalist, there must be an equally powerful band- in this case, that comes by way of Eric Fletcher. Since the jump, Fletcher has worked perfectly in sync with Welsh. Where Welsh is angry, Fletcher is hateful. Where Welsh is despondent, Fletcher is there to provide the knife. His guitar playing on this record is villainous, with dissonant chords and grooves that almost feel like wind cutting your flesh- it is almost impossible to accurately describe the tone and emotion behind every single riff across the board here. From the very first few seconds of “First, Do No Harm” to the blistering “Gucci Bodybags” (the same one that has Alex from Black Tongue, Matthew from Martyr Defiled, and Jon from VCTMS to round out an already perfect track) to the final moments of the self-titled album closer, Fletcher is absolutely furious and wants you to know just how damn angry he can get. Coupled with his grimy, earth-shaking bass tone, there isn’t a single second on this record that isn’t filled to the brim with his signature hatred. Further adding to the absolute audio assault that is this record, Welsh pulls double duty as drummer and offers up some of the most creative, fun, “what the FUCK?” moments on any band playing this style, full stop. These two barons of bitterness have crafted the perfect soundtrack to your next panic attack. “S.P.I.K.E.S Protocol” is an absolute ripper of a track, featuring frantic, fleet feet double kick drums, nutty time signatures, razor sharp riffing and the most pained vocals this side of the Mason-Dixon- and it all fucking rules.

I cannot sing the praises of this one enough. Everything they did right on previous releases they’ve perfected and improved upon tenfold. This is THE record to define the new generation of Nu Metalcore. If you’re into this sort of thing, you’re guaranteed to enjoy it. If you’re not so much a metalcore person, give it a try anyway. You may just be surprised at this absolute behemoth of a sad-dude record.

FFO: Alpha Wolf, Yuth Forever, Knocked Loose

Bummer Beatdown Forever