Review Summary: A step in the right direction...mostly.
I See Stars are known for their extreme use of auto tune, catchy choruses and occasionally their heavy breakdowns. Their album before Digital Renegade, "The End of the World Party" was, to say the least, a disappointment. And if you listened to that album and was disappointed with it like I was, chances are you'll love this album. In Digital Renegade, instead of voiding screams completely in some songs, they included more screaming with a much heavier sound. Digital Renegade opens with "Gnars Attacks", a nice sample of what the rest of the album will sound like. It uses synth and techno sounds (naturally, we're talking about I See Stars here), but instead of it sounding too poppy, it blends well with the heavy chugging the guitars have to offer and the screams. Devin Oliver (clean vocals) uses less auto tune and relies more on his natural voice. And it works out very well for him and this album. Hitting highs naturally and complimenting the catchy choruses. The guitars never do anything crazy. In fact you'll hear similar chords used in different songs in this album that are used in almost every I See Stars album (I am mostly referring to tear chords...the very same tear chord actually.) But they can definitely make a catchy chorus and make a very heavy breakdown. "Gnars Attacks" proves that statement, along with "Endless Sky", "Digital Renegade" and "Filth Friends Unite." Bass is almost completely unnoticeable, not that everyone looks for that. Just some creativity wouldn't hurt. Also if you're looking for lyrical inspiration, this isn't the album for you. It's mostly standard lyrics bands of this genre always make.
Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria vocalist) is featured in the breakdown at the end of "Endless Sky", and it really compliments it. Cassadee Pope is also featured in "Electric Forest", a more emotional song that every band of this genre has. Considering she came out of the blue, she did a great job, particularly when her and Devin are singing together. "iBelieve" was obviously made to inspire confidence in oneself, and I guess it really works if you look up to Devin. But it's definitely filler, and so is "Electric Forest", even with the help of Cassadee Pope. Drums are very catchy in this particular album, although they don't really stand out so much. Tuning into their beats, it really makes each chorus more catchy, and makes each breakdown that much more heavier. The first half of Digital Renegade is definitely the heavier side of it, with crisp breakdowns and a raw, but heavy sound. The last half being more filler, less heavy. Digital Renegade goes out with "Filth Friends Unite", the first song that was released before the album dropped, which I believe is a very appropriate song to go out on. It leaves that thirst for heaviness you have after listening to "Electric Forest" quenched.
I See Stars left their lighter sound with their previous album, and moved on to a heavier sound that uses less auto tune, more chugging and techno sounds that actually doesn't sound like Owl City. While not a perfect album, it's a good step in the right direction. Let's just hope this potential isn't lost in the future!