The intro track off of Erie metallic hardcore band, Mark of Fatality’s debut studio EP, Last Breath Under One Thousand Stars, starts with an air of reverence.

A dramatic synth part builds while a speaker says things like “This war was never about good and evil,” “Public places are now a shooting range and artificial intelligence is the new age.” They question “Have we really evolved into complex beings or are we still primitive beasts based on instinct?” He concludes with something he’s sure of: “We all have the Mark of Fatality.”

It’s a bit ecclesiastic in the way it describes primeval problems and how relative they are to our current decaying world, you know, in a real metal, hardcore type of way. Anthony Hudock, the band’s guitarist, mentions how early 90s metalcore bands like Undying and Prayer for Cleansing, often included synth intros similar to this one.

The spoken-word intro done by Hudock, appropriately titled “This Is…” matches up with lead singer Bailey Ryan’s mantra-like lyrics. Mark of Fatality lyrics often have raw, emotional reactions to universal problems. Primal instincts, basic emotions and universal human experiences like grief or wondering what happens when we die are a common thread throughout this EP.

The opener “Lifeline” is a damn near perfect metallic hardcore song. The song is under four minutes, yet through all the different sections, musical variety and intentional dynamics, it has the feeling of a long epic intro song. A standout feature from the band’s longtime friend and collaborator, Chris Neal, effectively sends off the final breakdown. 

“Disregard” comes on strong with a fast-moving thrashy metal riff before it gradually slows down into the sludge-metal influenced chorus. The lyrics hit hard: “There’s a hole in my heart that makes me / Disregard / The fire is burning deep inside / To move on to what’s next.” Hudock mentions how it’s a meaningful song, and that the lyrics were written by Ryan as a reaction to something he saw that was traumatic for him.

“…Last Breath” is as ominous as the name suggests and it might be the most dismal and tortured of the bunch. It recalls the eerie themes of survival and the close line between life and death that was discussed in “This Is…” 

This song also gets to the heart of the project’s meaning as it mentions the title with the lyric “And if we’re looking for our purpose / I guess we won’t find out / Until our last breath / Under a thousand stars.” Hudock said of the EP’s title, “I think it’s a beautiful image that I get in my head of a person’s last breath under 1000 stars and what they could be thinking of at that point.”

The song ends with an acoustic guitar part and the sound of rain pattering in the background. Hearing this section and thinking of the EP’s meaning, it’s easy to imagine the primordial nature of rain, and how instinctive we are as we look for cover from it.

Be sure to check our Last Breath Under A Thousand Stars on Spotify and Apple Music. Keep up with their latest news by giving Mark of Fatality a follow on Instagram as they begin to record their next project within the coming weeks.

Check out their latest release as well, As Above So Below.