Review Summary: The vocals are for the most part mono-toned, the guitars are inconsistent, the bass is rarely heard, the drums can be simple or a major player, and the samples and keys can be a bit too much at times.
Inocula have been swapping in and out members while fusing elements of metalcore, progressive rock/metal, melodic death metal, and electronica since 2005. The base of the band has been Chris, Dan, Paul, and Tyler. The singers and drummers have just been a revolving door and the band is on their third each for their debut record Suntelia Aeon
. Once this line-up was determined, the band took seven months off from playing any songs and wrote this record. Once they were done, they tapped Cory Smoot (Flattus Maximus of GWAR) to produce the record. So is this band good enough to be signed and make it big?
AJ Sugg is a vocalist that can come off weak as a metal vocalist when you first hear him on “Submerged
”, and you will grow to either love or hate his voice. I have grown to love his voice with the music even though it is mostly mono-toned. This is only their debut album, and first recordings with this line-up, so it is to be expected for AJ to grow as a vocalist with touring and lessons, so it is not as big as if this were their third album. AJ does show off some range during the middle of the album on the song “Mist
”. As a whole, though, the mono-toned vocals start to overstay their welcome around the track “There Was Hope
”. There is some clean singing found on this album. During the middle of “Mist” the clean vocals are actually food and fits in with the keys in the back. The other track with clean vocals is “One With Water
A few different vocal styles are also found on this album. There are the dreaded spoken lyrics during the latter part of “My Armor, My Ammunition
”. Unless these are pulled off perfect, a band should not try using this vocal style. AJ’s growls are good and should be used more on future releases. The whispered vocals found on "Crisis Reign
" are decent at beast. The different vocal style during the opening “Phantoms
” is actually good and the layers work well. The best vocal performance is found on "Your Weakest Moment
"; his vocals work so well and his vocal tone for the song is great.
Chris “Browneye” Brown and Dan Massey man the guitars. The album shows off two sides of the guitars. You have the clean guitars that are good but is usually taking a backseat to the chugging distorted guitars. The two different guitar riffs in the middle of “Submerged
” are both great. Both guitars go soft for the intro of “Mist
”. The two guitars are very complementary to each other on “Your Weakest Moment
”. Harmonizing chugging guitars starts “There Was Hope
”. “Facing The End
” has two guitar leads where one is decent and the other is good. These inconsistencies follow throughout the rest of the album. This can also be said for the breakdowns. The best one is found near the middle of “Your Weakest Moment” which leads into a good guitar lead
There is some great fretting heard near the early stages of "Crisis Reign
". There is also some nice Spanish style fretting near the latter middle part of "Crisis Reign". There’s also some acoustic guitar picking on "Crisis Reign", but it doesn’t fit with the distorted guitars. There is a slower, softer guitar solo that fits really well into that part of "There Was Hope
" that leads into a great guitar riff. The guitars d star overstaying their welcome around “One With Water
Aaron Krause mostly uses his double bass pedals and cymbals a lot on this album. Which immediately shows when cymbals starts the album off, while “My Armor, My Ammunition
” is double bass heavy. Sometimes the drums play a big role in songs, middle of "There Was Hope
" and near the end of "Phantoms
", but sometimes they do not play any kind of role except for foundation, “Crisis Reign
”. There are three great moments by the drummer: the instrumental “19
”, the chimes at the beginning of “Facing The End
”, and the exotic, foreign feel that comes off at the beginning of “One With Water
”. The bass usually just stays in the shadows of the drum’s double bass, but you can hear the bass for a few moments during the intro of “Mist
Tyler Etters is the band member that plays the keys and samples. The keys play a small part into the actually music. “Mist
” and “Phantoms
” starts with the keyboard being played while the keyboard finishes off “One With Water
”. The best overall use of the keyboard is when the keys are a perfect match on the song “Your Weakest Moment
” is a piano and sample heavy instrumental, the same goes with the title track. The samples are more of a mixed bag; some are bad, beginning of “Submerged
”, some are horrible, end of “Crisis Reign
”, most are decent, and a few are annoying, ex. at the end of “Your Weakest Moment”. There is one sample that was not needed and it found on “One With Water”.
Inocula needs some more time under their belt before they can think about a record deal. They first need to figure out what to do with the samples. They bring something unique to the table, but with a few bad choices and having four or five samples per song can bring that sense of uniqueness crashing down way too fast. Inocula should keep the samples but drastically cut back on them and decide where a sample would best enhance the song. The other thing the band needs to do before a record deal is to release another album that creates a better sense of what they want to sound like when they are signed and promoted. Both of these things will help the band in the long run. As far as the music though; the vocals are for the most part mono-toned, the guitars are inconsistent, the bass is rarely heard, the drums can be simple or a major player, and the samples and keys can be a bit too much at times. This is a young band that has time to grow and should fix most of these problems on their next album.
Lasting Value: 4.5