Are you freaking kidding me? I’ve been aching to hear a band like this for YEARS.
When you’ve got a voice like Monique, it has to be paired with an equally powerful band and not some half baked ‘hard-rock’ which still thinks Evanessance or Paramore were the pinnacle for the genre. (*and yeh yeh they’re fine bands, don’t get started)
I get huge Escape the Fate and Avenged Sevenfold vibes here and whilst those are polarising bands amongst many heavy music fans I can’t fault the execution here. The riffs, shredding, palm-muted and bouncey djent moments are fast and frequent. The use of piano and keys is really well used, lots of arpeggios and leads in very complimentary ways..not as a feature instrument (thank goodness).
The drums are absolutely top notch. The mix on the kit is great as well. The kick is solid and the snare really cracks and cuts through. It’s a fill-a-minute and the assault is relentless. Sometimes a band or an engineer will favour the kick to accentuate the pummelling, but here it’s all crisp, bright and balanced. Whether it’s programming or just exemplary mixing, I don’t care. This kills. This just totally kills.
I cant wipe the smile off my face as the surprises just keep coming.
Whilst I’m on the topic of mix..i must mention the bass. Finally we have a band that lets the bass player have some room and presence in the mix. Not just .you know..in somewhere buried beneath the guitars (and there’s a ton of guitars to stack). The attack is clearly audible, the sub is tight and follows the chords when it needs to and the movement is well defined. I will use this as a solid example when schooling other bands on the importance of bass guitar in the mix.
The notable instrumentation is a high point for sure BUT full props have to be given to the extraordinary vocal talents of Monique up front. The woman can sing and yell, scream and all there is in between. She carries this band from ‘cool’ to ‘wow’.
To talk about songs the entire 8 track album is as consistent and polished as anything i’ve heard. The opening kick ‘Hangman’ is a great showcase for what will follow. I’ll leave that for you to enjoy without spoiling it. The second track ‘Into Fire’ however leans more towards a mid paced sing-along metal track and is arguably more accessible. ‘Halfway Point’ uses the piano/keys to great effect giving it a creepy horror vibe but the changes come often and never dwells in one place too long. The instrumental bridging track ‘0068’ is a great little passage that hints at a proggy-metal-side project just waiting to break out! Wherever it came from, the ground work is set up for ‘End of Days’ which again just delivers on all the enjoyable elements this band does so well.
‘Earthbound’ is the twist amongst otherwise pretty reliable metal-infused melodic music. The band released a video for it and whilst I think it’s a brave and mature addition to the collection, won’t serve the band well in terms of introducing their sound to new audiences. It does however work really well in context with the album.
All in all..a standout release for 2018. Seriously amazing. Not overstating this in any way.
RIYL: Marmozets, Jinjer, Lacuna Coil, Drown This City, The Beautiful Monument etc etc