Review Summary: The generic-scene version of The Human Abstract? Well apparently that doesn't work out so well.
What’s with bands these days wasting talent that they undeniably have waiting at their fingertips? I mean by now with this genre of metalcore/post-hardcore one would think that these bands could start churning out albums with good songwriting and with songs that don’t attend to popular clichés. However, seeing as almost every song on Chapters
follows a standard formula of: verse, chorus, verse, breakdown, chorus, etc.; it doesn’t seem like that’s happening yet. Chapters
is the debut full length from Adestria, a metalcore/post-hardcore act from San Diego, California. Adestria is:
Matt Anderson – Vocals
Russel Klein – Guitar
Brian Stump – Guitar
Chris Hardison – Bass
Mikey Colasardo – Keys/Synths
Mike Yanez – Drums
So let’s start off with the bad, Adestria, like many of their contemporaries have overly used and abused clean vocals, they have an overabundance of breakdowns, an overproduced and bass absent production and they have synths. The synths however are not typically a problem and don’t detract from the songs. Now for the good, Adestria have an incredible harsh vocalist in Matt Anderson. They do indeed have talent
. Yes, talent. Both of their guitarists are good players and have come up with some good riffs and a couple good leads here and there. However, going back to my first problem with Chapters
, they both waste a lot of their skill and decide to instead just chug endlessly or play simple octave chords during the chorus’. For instance, not even 30 seconds into the first song, "Compromised" there is a breakdown that is quickly followed by a bad chorus. However after the chorus there is a wonderful lead guitar part that seems to be heavily influenced by progressive metalcore band, The Human Abstract. Its flashy, near Egyptian-sounding lead that moves about quite nicely but isn’t enough to save the song from mediocrity.
Thankfully the auto-tuned clean vocals aren’t found everywhere on this LP. The song "The Odyssey" doesn’t feature any clean vocals; unfortunately, it is a more breakdown-centric song and really has no memorable parts. That seems to be a common theme with Chapters
, the band will do something cool, whether it be the great harsh vocals or the great guitar work here and there, they always manage to ruin it one way or another. Whether it be a misplaced clean sung chorus or a boring breakdown that interrupts the flow of the album.
They try something different on the song, "More Than You Know", which features all clean singing, piano, keys and drums. And for the first half of the song it sounds a bit like the song, "Louder than Thunder" by The Devil Wears Prada, from their 2009 release, With Roots Above and Branches Below
. Until, it builds up to distorted guitars and screamed vocals in which the song is successfully hosed. The biggest problem with their song writing is transitions. All would be fine and dandy here but they can’t write good transitions from one part, say a breakdown, to a chorus or verse. One moment poppy auto-tune chorus, the next you get open position power chords and screams in your face. The change of pace isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however how its carried out just makes you cringe a bit and skip to the next song.
And that leads us to our next issue. When you hear that bland chorus + breakdown combo and skip the next song you really aren’t accomplishing anything at all because all the songs sound the same. They all follow a similar, by the text-book formula and all have the same screams, and the same cleans. Albeit a cool idea here and there, such as the great lead guitar in the beginning of "This Ship, a Coffin", which turns out being one of the stronger songs on the album and has a decent chorus with some great melo-death type riffage. But, really besides "This Ship, a Coffin" and a couple other parts – Scott Barns of In Fear and Faith guests vocals on the last track, "Scarlett Letter" - this follows an extremely generic songwriting formula and it hardly ever strays from that.
Lyrically, this album is nothing too out of the ordinary for a band of this type. While they aren’t bad lyrics by any means, they just feel very cliché and overdone by many bands. They cover topics such as love/hate relationships, problems within your friends, problems with drinking and not following the beaten path (Which they fail to do, musically and lyrically) and instead things in your own badass way. There’s also pretty some violent lines here and there.
So, in reality Chapters
turns out like The Human Abstract meets your typical modern metalcore/post-hardcore band. It really is a sad tale to be honest, they have a lot of potential here, a lot of talent here, but for the most part they fail to seize any of it. While I’m sure this will LP will appeal to many scene kids, I don’t see it getting any critical praise. While not a terrible album, it fails to do anything unique, despite, the flashy parts and good vocals. If you are a fan of this type of modern metalcore/post-hardcore, than I suggest checking out the new This or the Apocalypse LP, Dead Years
or The Color Morale’s My Devil in Your Eyes
. Both are great albums and are both in a similar vein to Chapters
. With Chapters
Adestria creates a decent, but stale and overdone LP that proves that the band does indeed have potential, loads of it, they just haven’t harnessed it yet.