Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rick's Discoveries Volume XI

As you may have noticed in past articles, and as you’ll definitely see after reading this article, I’ve been fully sucked into the djent genre. I’ve been trying to listen to all of the bands I run across, regardless of genre, but I find myself gravitating towards anything djent related before hitting up other artists. I’m sure that I will eventually sour on the genre, but as it stands the sound is still interesting enough that I am completely on board with the genre. That being said, my Discoveries articles aren’t focused solely on one genre since, given my ADHD tendencies, I can’t listen to one style of music for an entire day. Just be warned that there might be a larger swath of djent coverage in the next few articles. With that having been said, enjoy 10 new albums that I think deserve your attention!

Future of the Party – Future of the Party

Sporting former members of Paulson and Houston Calls, I expected something completely different than what I got. Instead of pop-punk or indie, Future of the Party play synth-laden pop-rock that reminds me a lot of a weird combination of The Static Age (music-wise) and Holy Roman Empire(vocal-wise). The synths take center stage for sure, making this EP a danceable, fun listen, but the songs still have enough gravity to them so that they don’t sound like a pure party band. They’re a serious band, but you can’t help yourself as you start to nod along to each song. There’s a bright future for this band.

Redemption – This Mortal Coil

Progressive metal fans already know and love this band, but they have often criticized Redemption for being nothing more than clones of Dream Theater. That’s been a valid criticism since Redemption are extremely similar to them, especially to those not well versed in progressive metal. This Mortal Coil isn’t going to change that opinion, but it is the band’s strongest album yet. Again, the downfall with this band (similar to Dream Theateras well) is the cheesy lyrics and overall lackluster vocals. However, the band has some stellar riffs on this album, much more so than on past releases. I would kill for an instrumental version of this album, truthfully. And if you were as disappointed by the latest Dream Theater album as I was, this should fill the progressive metal void that you have.

Fit For a King – Descendants

It seems like it has been a few articles now since I’ve had a good metalcore band to recommend. No longer! Fit For a King blend together metalcore traits that could be found on releases from the likes of Gwen Stacy, Impending Doom, A Plea For Purging, or Memphis May Fire. There are destructively heavy movements, stretches of melodic vocals, space-y instrumentation, and aggression to spare. I think what I like best about this album is it doesn’t stray into the deathcore tropes so many metalcore bands are falling into nowadays. This will make for a great weight-lifting soundtrack.

ForTiorI – Triton

Well, this will be the djent entry for this Discoveries article. I originally stumbled upon this guy (yep, this is another one-man djent band) because he did a cover of a Skrillex track. It was novel enough that I wanted to check out anything else he’d done, and he packed a lot into this album as it is around 90 minutes in length (in the digital age, you’re not confined to 80 minute albums any more), treading over all of the usual djent bases. Truth be told, the majority of the tracks are pretty basic djent, exploring all of the usual territory, but it’s executed quite well and kept me interested through most of the run time (it did drag at times… but it is 90 minutes long).

Spiralmountain – Blacksand

Ok… maybe I’ll have two djent entries. Spiralmountain, much like ForTiorI, stick to the usual djent template, but there is still a lot to like. Some songs are given space to utilize ambiance in structuring movements, while others are more focused on being industrialized jackhammers. It’s this variety that keeps the album from getting to boring or same-y feeling. If you are getting burnt out on instrumental djent, however, this isn’t going to do anything to bring you back into the fold. I’m still eating up every band trying the genre on for size, so you’ll probably see at least a few more djent entries in coming articles.

Friend For a Foe – Source of Isolation

How about a third djent-y album? This isn’t a straight up djent album, but it does have a few djent-ish moments here and there. The closest comparisons I can think of for Friend For a Foe would probably be to After the Burial or Born of Osiris but with a healthy dose of clean vocals to offset the well placed harsh vocals and some Periphery styled passages. Friend For a Foe might not be quite as technical as the aforementioned bands, but they have the same technical and mechanical approach, and they also manage to make stellar use of clean vocals and TesseracT like mellower sections. All in all, this band shows a ton of promise and could easily be a breakout artist if given the right push.

Jo Blankenburg – Vendetta

I’m again confronted with the same conundrum I was when trying to describe Thomas Bergersen… is there a genre of “movie trailer music”? All of the tracks on Vendetta are perfectly constructed to fit as 2-3 minute musical movements that could underscore any emotionally charged film trailer. The music doesn’t require a visual accompaniment to appreciate, however, so don’t think that’s what I’m driving at, but you can almost visualize what a trailer would look like set to each song on this album. The music is epic in scope, grandiosely composed, and is larger than life. Listening toVendetta as you go about your day can make everything you do seem life-altering and supremely important… even if it’s only brushing your teeth or making dinner.

Camo & Krooked – Cross the Line

And here’s your dubstep entry for this Discoveries article! I wasn’t very impressed by Camo & Krooked’s first album, Above & Beyond, but Cross the Line adds a lot to what they established on their previous album. This effort isn’t filled with epic drops or crazy wobbles, but they do keep it filthy. There’s a lot of drum n bass influence, along with some house and jungle, but for the majority of the album, you get some high quality dubstep that’s focused on solid song structuring instead of drops and wobbles which, let’s be honest, is getting a bit old.

Marionette ID – Alluvion

I’m not sure who I’m reminded of as I listen to Alluvion, but I’m constantly struck by the fact that this sounds so familiar… and so good. There’s pieces of Moving Mountains, hints of Engine Down, and maybe some Oddzar at times. It’s all quite an interesting combination of genres as there’s indie, post-rock, alt metal, and post-metal swirled around together with each other. Marionette ID effortlessly shift between the various genres they employ, keeping things engaging throughout the 7 tracks on this album, all of which are above the 5 minute mark.

Kendrick Lamar – Section.80

I feel like it has been a couple of articles since I’ve featured a hip-hop discovery, so here to rectify that is the full length debut from Kendrick Lamar.Section.80 gives you a glimpse into the dark, despairing world of the downtrodden and listless. Lamar uses his intriguing flow and lyric style to illustrate a number of dark topics, often times treading upon usual hip-hop topics such as drug use, banging chicks, and living the hard life, but instead of glorifying these topics or rapping about them simply to mention them, he brings them up in ways to show that in the darker, bleaker world he is writing from these are hazards of the day and things you slip into because there is nothing else for you. Despite some catchy choruses and upbeat sounding beats, this is actually a very dark conscious hip-hop record, so don’t expect a lot of bangers, but instead nimble explorations of modern ghetto life.

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