The Word Alive: “Violent Noise”
When the metal/alternative scene heard that The Word Alive was going to be releasing a new album, they were shook, for it had been a minute since The Word Alive had put out an LP, and, in general, they didn’t disappoint. Throughout “Violent Noise”, the band toys with the mixing of the old style that their audience has come to love and adore from the artist as well as some moments where they switch things up to give a new, progressive sound. This is heard throughout most tracks, for the band gives their listeners more opportunities to connect to melodies that are provided by the clean vocals. Having clean vocals isn’t new for the artist; however, in their previous releases, the band would provide their clean vocals with dense textures underneath it to continue that more aggressive sound. In this album, the band, more often than not, does the complete opposite by giving their audience a variance in instrumental textures to allow the vocals to shine in more moments of isolation. It is also crucial to note that the band does include moments of aggressive vocals paired with harsh instrumental breakdowns, which gives them a nice sense of contrast when listening to the album as a whole. Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars because it was a solid representation of the band as well as an artist in this realm of music.
Recommended Tracks: Stare At The Sun, I Don’t Mind, My Enemy.
*”Violent Noise” was released on May 4, 2018 through Fearless Records.
Shinedown: “ATTENTION ATTENTION”
Shinedown easily has one of the biggest fan bases when discussing all of the albums that are being released right now, so their new album was criticized by the masses, and honestly? It bops. Throughout this release, Shinedown really dug into their instrumental interludes and instrumentals in general. This is heard by the extreme nature of each instrumental part, for it is easy to hear that each musician in the band is just diving into their part to create a well-balanced picture. As they toy with their instrumental techniques, seamlessly bending their texture instrumentally to vocally, it can be heard that the band is doing an excellent job of mixing a modern flair into the style of their characteristic sound. This may be interpreted the wrong way to die-hard fans; however, this gives their album an extra appealing edge to help them expand their fan base through this release. (and who wouldn’t want that?). Another crucial thing to mention about this album is that it can be political at times, and the lyrical content of each selection is generally relatable to any audience member who would hear it. This, again, enhances the potential likability of the album, for it is relatable on several fronts. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. This album is rock solid, and that’s simply how this score was determined, it was only missing that slight punch to bring it home.
Recommended Tracks: BLACK SOUL, KILL YOUR CONSCIENCE, EVOLVE.
*”ATTENTION ATTENTION” was released on May 4, 2018 through the Atlantic Recording Corporation.
CHVRCHES: “Love Is Dead”
When this album was conceptionalized, the world went a-wall, and rightfully so once everyone heard the result. The gist of this album, is a collection of songs, discussing why or how love is dead through selections that almost force you to just sway along with the music. Throughout each work, the band utilizes minimal instrumentals with electronics to mix a relaxed new wave sound with the alternative and pop genres of music. When pulling all of these genres together, the band has a lot of room to work with to provide an over-the-top album, which they have done. When one thinks of “over-the-top”, they probably think of music that crashes down with instrumentals that cause the ground to shake. However, this album takes “over-the-top” into a different direction; to further, this band allows the audience to truthfully sink into their lyrics as they provide enough musical materials to give the audience small nuances to hold on to while the steady pulse is met and held consistent. This is a risky choice for an artist because there is a lot of wiggle room, for audiences may become bored; thus, it was smart of the band to include tracks that were progressive as well as ones that were laid back. This gave the audience something to either internalize or externalize. Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars because although this album is coherently strong, a few of the tracks sound fairly identical, and when one is getting a longer LP, the intent of all different material should be firm and set.
Recommended Tracks: ii, Heaven/Hell, Graffiti.
*”Love Is Dead” was released on May 25, 2018 through the Glassnote Entertainment Group.
Dream On Dreamer: “It Comes and Goes”
Before Dream On Dreamer released this full-length, several years had passed since the band had given their fan-base new material; thus, everyone was expecting something spectacular, and don’t you worry, they brought the heat. Throughout this album, it is heard that the band grinds in on instrumentals whether it be through instrumental interludes or in the selections just generally speaking. This is prominent because each musician seemingly utilizes heavy attacks within each musical phrase, which will result in a heavier projection and an overall louder sound. This will help to enhance the heightened nature of each track, for it gives the audience that feel of an elaborate metal track: minus the aggressive vocals. When talking about vocals, it is important to note that the band utilizes clean vocals the majority of the time. When the band isn’t using their pure vocals, they utilize ones that sound strained, as if the vocalist is stretching to sing certain musical phrases. By doing so, the band gives their audience a nice contour of vocals to attach to as they are supported by this over-the-top instrumental blanket. When listening to this album, it is notable that the music the band is providing is cool, to put it bluntly, for it gives the full effect as if they are going to fall into a metal breakdown, but they never do because that isn’t their aesthetic or sound. This is something that may help or hinder the band, but it’s something their fans would be accustomed to. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars, for the instrumentals are solid just as the lyrics are, but there are times where the two aren’t 100% related to create the full score picture.
Recommended Tracks: Voices, Tell Me Why, Drag Me Down.
*”It Comes and Goes” was self-released on May 25, 2018.
Modern Maps: “Hope You’re Happy”
Modern Maps is one of the newer bands to be signed to the one of the leading record labels in the alternative scene: Rise Records. With this notion over their heads, the masses were expecting big things from the up-in-coming artist, and they didn’t upset, even in the slightest bit. Throughout their debut album, the artist paints the perfect picture of what the band’s aesthetic is from the very first selection on the album and then so on and so forth. It is heard as one moves from track to track, that this band is going to give the audience a solid representation of an alternative artist that likes to pull instrumental techniques from the hardcore/metal realm of music. They do so while providing vocal lines that fall either in the heart of the alternative scene, or they use dashes of influence from the pop musical genre. This mixing of several musical genres gives this upcoming band a bit of edge to help them stand out amongst the artists that have stood the test of time. Speaking in terms of the music they provide on the album, the band gives their audience flexible lyrical lines to attach to that follow the natural contour of the vocalist’s vocal type, which makes for an overly pleasing sound. Instrumentally speaking, the band utilizes a vast spectrum of texture while often playing with the strategic use of silence to give the audience a heavy use of contrast. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I was very close to giving this one a full score, but I feel like I am saving that score for the next LP released by this artist because after riding this one out, they are going to slay the game.
Recommended Tracks: Autopilot, Shot You Down, Your Fault.
*”Hope You’re Happy” was released on June 1, 2018 through Rise Records.