Review Summary: Features the capable vocals of Jess Collins, the chunky guitar riffs of Christopher Lee (ex-Thought Industry), all complimented by soothing piano melodies and synth.
I was listening to my iPod on shuffle today and it played a series of bands that all had members leave for one reason or another, and it got me thinking about why they left. After much idle time pondering this random question I did find that they all had a few similarities. All of these bands were talented and all of the members that left went on to start at least one musical project; if not more. It seems to me that a lot of talented musicians just have so many ideas that being confined to a single band just doesn’t work even if the band is as eccentric as Thought Industry
. During, T.I.’s career members came and went fairly regularly including original guitarist Christopher Lee who played with them on their first three albums. He went on to participate in a multitude of different musical projects including The Static Dynamic.
In an interview vocalist Jess Collins described her band’s sound as Meshuggah
, and while I don’t agree with that description, the truth does fall somewhere in between. The band play an interesting blend of metal-tinged alternative rock that features Queensryche
-style dual-guitar harmonies, chunky guitar riffs, beautiful piano melodies, punk/hardcore elements and catchy female vocals all washed over by a warm layer of synth. It may seem like those varying elements could easily result in an incoherent mess, but just one listen to a song such as “Wave-Like Forms” will put those thoughts to rest. This song consistently has me reaching for the ‘back’ button just so I can hear the great guitar harmonies, melodic synths, classy solo and great chorus one more time.
Not only is “Wave-Like Forms” one of the best songs on this album, it is also a great example of what this album has to offer because it straddles the line between the heavier side of the band and the mellow, melodic side. On the heavier side they include all the elements of that song but with the added edge of a punk/hardcore influence. “Charlton Charm” starts right off with a riff that could almost be described as “thrashy”, complimented by a steady layer of synth and Jess’ occasional hardcore shouts. Every song on this album is catchy and this song is no different due to a good pop-punk chorus that drops just enough of the heaviness to be accessible.
The softer side of the band is characterized by piano-dominated melodies, emotional vocals and subtle backing guitar. “New Years Revelation” flows beautifully with a great piano melody over a bed of subtle acoustic guitar and solid percussion all of which allows Jess Collins to deliver a solid, soulful vocal performance. The rest of the songs from the striking “Lighthouse” with its emotional chorus and melodies to “Of Power and Grace” with its guitar driven edge and minor hardcore influence all tend to meet somewhere in the middle and provide enough variation to keep the album interesting from start to finish.
The combination of chunky riffs with prominent piano melodies topped with the vocals of Jess Collins is an interesting blend that works really well. With its varying elements, this album could appeal to a fan of Lacuna Coil
as easily as it could a fan of Kill Hannah
or Eyes Set to Kill
. It’s safe to say that if you’re simply opposed to female vocalists then this probably won’t be the album that brings you around despite the fact that they’re not operatic or piercingly high-pitched, but for those that are into it, you may find that after one listen to a song such as “Wave-like Forms” that you’re hooked just like I am.