Review Summary: Above-average instrumentation adds a nice bit of intrigue to an otherwise passable release.
2011 has been quite the year for polyrhythm-driven “djent” bands, and Walking With Strangers is no exception. The year seems to have brought with it a resurgence in interest for the genre. However, many bands that seemed promising have, in their most recent releases, either failed to live up to their hype, or just outright failed. Walking With Strangers, however, doesn’t quite fit into any of those applicable categories. When I first heard about the band, I got a hold of their EP and wasn’t really impressed by any of it. Similarly, no massive hype-train followed this band.
In this case, the lack of expectation was great for me. Their debut LP, Hardships
, is an involved and engaging listen to be sure, but one that exists decidedly within the confines of the current ‘core’ style. Sure, there are plenty of gratifying chuggy riffs and plenty of breakdowns, even the occasional melodic undertone to offset the heaviness. But everything from the deep, growling vocal delivery to the intricate drumming to the digitally altered stutter all serve to prove this album’s mediocrity.
That being said, there are still a few moments where Walking With Strangers’ raw talent carries them to a higher level than they otherwise would be at. The album is best taken at face value. It’s technical, heavy, catchy, and occasionally melodic, which is (sadly) enough for me to warrant at least some amount of attention. Songs like Legends and Roots reminisce of For The Fallen Dreams’ musical style on Relentless
, only a few years late. A fun listen, but not an album one would champion as a premier release for the year.