Review Summary: Heavy and heartfelt… just lacking substance.
You know you just got to love those guys in bands signed to Solid State, they just never learn to quit. It always seems that a band will break up or a member will leave or one will start another side project and you get yet another band in the mix. Josh Scogin with Norma Jean leaves to start The Chariot, Dallas Taylor leaves Underoath and out pops Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Haste the Day frontman Jimmy Ryan leaves and creates post-metal act Trenches, Figure Four goes on hiatus and some go to form Comeback Kid, Training for Utopia disbands and they go off to make Demon Hunter afterwards. Some followers of the Solid State label might remember a remarkable post-hardcore band that went by the name of Beloved some years ago. With their release of Failure On it was a huge shame when the members decided to call it quits after drummer/vocalist Joe Musten quit the band to live the life of a married man. While some may have been disappointed with this decision, it really wasn’t surprising as Musten was a very integral part of the band and brought the heavier aspects of their sound into the band. The members went their other ways with some going to The Classic Case, some to Dead Poetic and some in Aaron Gillespie’s fronted band The Almost. However, after a year, both Musten and Beloved’s guitarist Matt Harrison and bassist Jonny Smrdel decided to get back together and form the band we now know as Advent
I will make this very clear from the beginning, Advent is not like Beloved. Some diehards might claim Advent to be the pseudo-continuation of their previous band but I state right now that even with three out of the five original members in this band, it is no where near it. With this being said, Advent is a thrash influenced metalcore band that features Joe Musten as the current lead vocalist. Formed in 06, the band was quickly scooped up by Solid State and within two years they release their debut album, Remove the Earth
. What is found on this release can be summed up as a ridiculously heavy album written directly from the heart but all in all lacks the substance to keep the listener entertained without having the flip to the next track. Starting with an ominous horn, the opening track ‘Blackout
’ is actually quite a remarkable track that sets the pace throughout the entire album. You can tell right from the get-go that Advent means business, constantly in your face, pummeling the listener with non-stop riffs and breakdowns galore. Seriously, it’s felt throughout every song on this record. Advents sound goes to show what the minds of Beloved were capable of creating, that they had this grudge on their backs for quite awhile and that Advent can be seen as a releasing of their anger.
That is also another thing to note about this band, the intensity. Where Beloveds message spread a message of Christian peace and love, Advent is quite the other way around… now instead of promoting peace of love; they have gone on the offensive for Christianity with unapologetic lyrics from Musten leading the foray as taken from the song ‘Eulogy
“From the shadows, you spit your rotten words. Killing His name. Spit in His face. Crucify! Crucify! Legacy of blasphemy. Nail yourself to your cross of lies.”
The lyrics come straight from the heart of a bleeding believer who understands and believes in one hundred percent what he says and how he delivers it. These types of lyrics can be extremely offsetting for a non-believer but it will definitely have the Bible-thumping-straighedge-hardcore-kids jumping up in down with glee, constant high-fives, and finger pointing at any person who gives them a bad look. But while they might be a tad at the ‘preachy’ side, no one can deny the convictions that Musten has in his beliefs. But another thing that is a plus is that the music tends to follow along perfectly with Mustens intensity.
However there are a couple major downfalls in Advent that must be addressed. One is the vocals. For those familiar with Beloved, Musten brought the ‘hardcore’ in the post-hardcore band, and he did it quite well with his shouts but in this release we see Musten developing a more of a hardcore scream than an actual shout. While some may think this a positive aspect, like shying away from the clichés of a genre, the problem is that Musten does little to distinguish his voice from the songs found in Remove the Earth, it all blends into a cacophonous mess of screams, yells and mumbo-jumbo that gets very old in the long run. Another problem is the massive redundancy of the album of a whole. While no one can say that Advent ‘brings the heavy’, they tend to suffer from a lack of song individuality that makes the entire album sound bland and a mess. It could just be the production style but seriously, how many ‘jun-jun, chug-chug, wee-wee’s’
can we hear on one album? Take the song ‘Reflection
’ for instance, while some may claim the sound to be the equivalent to the Hammer of God coming down to ‘strike the non-believers’, to the refreshed metalhead, it just sounds like a barrage of incoherent babbling from both the singer and the band.
At albums end, we come to the conclusion that while it can be a little exhausting, with quite a few inconsistent parts, we can understand that Advent knows how to write quality hardcore for the masses. The old members of Beloved return to their ‘core roots and give us ten tracks of blistering metal with little respite and room for breathing. With room for improvement, Advent has released a solid album that will put them miles ahead of the rest of the Solid State Records roster.