Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sinai Beach - Immersed CD Review

Christian metalcore and hardcore are two genres that manage to either be hated or embraced by those who listen to the secular version of the two. For some reason, many elitist *core kids deem anything with a Christian or religious slant as obviously inferior to secularized bands with the exact same musical underpinnings. Does talking about spirituality really make a band that much less viable in the *core music market? Some would say yes while others would argue no. Who knows who is actually right.

Usually most Christian metalcore acts stick to a few particular labels, most notably Solid State or Facedown. Sinai Beach has, however, strayed from the usual stomping grounds of the Christian metalcore scene and aligned themselves with Victory after having previously put in time at Facedown. Until you actually focus in on the lyrics of Immersed, you’d never have thought that Sinai Beach was a Christian band, which is really how it should be. Being biased against a band simply because of personal beliefs instead of musical merits is beyond stupid, but unfortunately that’s not the type of mindset that many metalcore listeners possess.

Immersed is very much a straight-ahead, slightly southern rock inspired, metalcore album. Driving guitars, crunchy breakdowns, melodic choruses, double-bass pounding, and growling verses can all be found in abundance throughout this release. There is one small addition that Sinai Beach adds to the basic metalcore mix, however, and it is something that you don’t often hear in metalcore—electronics. “To the Church” is a prime example of how a small electronic flourish can actually add to a song instead of it coming off as sounding superfluous. As the chorus kicks in, right after a brutal verse, the electronic flair gives the song an air of modernity in an overplayed genre.

Beyond the electronics, there weren’t too many things that managed to stand out on this disc when compared against other contemporary metalcore releases, except maybe the melodic vocals of CJ Alderson. When screaming he comes across just like any number of metalcore frontmen, but when he’s singing he sounds an awful lot like Danzig. At times you’ll wonder when he’s going to start belting out “Mother…” Most of the time it’s only a passing similarity but on some songs, such as “Obedience through Desecration”, you’ll almost feel like there were guest vocals from Mr. Danzig laid down on the track.

When you really come down to it, this is yet another decent metalcore release in a genre that’s already teeming with a good number of outstanding, as well as many not-so-outstanding, bands. Sinai Beach manage to separate themselves from the pack, but only slightly, and that simply isn’t enough to push them to the forefront of the genre, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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