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  • Writer's pictureLeon Riccio

REVIEW: Post-hardcore Pinewall's debut single, 'X Games at the Vatican'

Pinewall. CREDIT: Indie Shorts Productions

The debut single from post-hardcore outfit Pinewall, “X Games at the Vatican,” introduces the band as competent, confident, and exciting, with a fresh new angle into a pretty well-explored genre.

The not-so-subtly-titled track, released on June 9, opens with a brooding bass melody (Ewan Riddell) and leads into the haunting verses which tonally match frontman Charlie Stokes’ ominous and shadowy lyrics “Take over me/take everything/I can't feel my feet/This don't come for free.”

Single artwork for 'X Games at the Vatican.' CREDIT: Pinewall

As the track picks up speed, crushing distorted guitars (Lou Moss) and furious percussion (Kieran Robinson) hold the framework of the chorus and breakdown, for which scathing fry-vocals are tucked in-between thick layers of droning lead vocal riff, belted out by Stokes, best known for trap-metal projects Ug1y K1tt3n and HELLCAT.

While harking back to the Bring-Me era of metalcore, and certain elements of midwest emo/emo revival, the production quality of the four-minute-single really makes the track stand out. The listener's attention is drawn toward the piercing, yet simple, vocal hook while the more instrumental elements fizzle and simmer underneath - this age-old pop music trick is played off expertly, keeping the heavy elements sounding heavy and ensuring the character of the band's sound isn't lost in the mix.

While it’s still very early doors, it’s a promising and well-calibrated first step from the Berkshire-based band, tentatively separating themselves from the near-infinite supply of small-scale metal bands in the UK.

To listen to Pinewall’s latest single, and to follow their social media, visit

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