Review Summary: when all is said and done, the tally marks are justified
There are two types of bands in this scene. On one side, we have the more Rise Records driven bands that try to appeal to that guy you see walking down the street wearing three cardigans and a top hat. We don't speak of this side, as it is everything that is currently wrong with music and the world in general, and I feel that the labels that fund these bands are more to blame for this struggling economy than any president is. They tell these 18-21 year old kids that their music is good and press them to continue, offering little to no financial stability and justify it by telling them that they are just "paying their dues." These kids then begin gather in groups of five (or six, if there's a synth-er) and this vicious cycle leads to these kids on the street a few years later, contract long ran out, their "art" long forgotten. This side is the more prominent side as, like the modern mainstream media, the music with less depth and more ~CROOSH~ is eaten up while the more intricate music requires more pursuit to obtain. This past year has been rough on metalcore, with all of the Motionless in Whites and [i][S][S][H][O][E][S] littering a genre that lately almost never fails to seem like it's ASKING to be made fun of. There is, however, one album that serves as a statement for this genre in 2012. This album comes from the still passionate side of this genre, the side that isn't just still just making music to be marketable. Danza IIII (not IV) is an album almost as untraditional as it's we-use-tally-marks-because-***-roman-numerals name, as it raises the bar to new heights in a genre where the bar has seemingly been buried. But here's the trick, in order to appreciate it, the template used for judging anything in this genre must be destroyed and replaced by what you think it should be after giving this fifty four minutes of your full, unbiased attention.
Danza IIII showcases everything that is still fun and honest within the modern age of progressive metalcore. It has everything, from soaring breaks of controlled chaos sweeps that compliment the hateful tone of the vocals, to odd time signature groove patterns that would even make the most timid of Robert Lowes tap their feet in unison. If you only ever give your full attention to one metalcore album to come out this year, let it be this one. Danza has achieved a new level of apathy in this release, but that doesn't mean that they have gotten lazy. This album is fifty four minutes of that good ol' ***-the-world-and-***-you-too sound that attracted all of the loyal fans they still have, but on Danza IIII(not IV), the agression is much more focused. On releases prior to this, their sound was portrayed through mindless chugging and sweeping that never gave anyone a reason to take it too seriously, but something about this album makes the chaos seem more justified than ever. Could it be because all of the instrumentation duties have been given to one man on this album? Or could it be that becoming a three piece was the best thing that could have happened to this band, due to the other band members holding Josh Travis back? With songs like "The Alpha / The Omega," a three minute thriller featuring absolutely jaw dropping guest vocals from Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel and Alex Erian of Despised Icon, Danza proves that losing almost every member to their band did nothing more but make them angrier.
Most bands with guitarists who aren't Josh Travis try to capture this sound but fail to add all of the subtle appeal now required by this scene, making their inspiration become self-defeating. The few bands left with any guitarist who can play thirty second note sweeps all take their musical talent as songwriting talent, which usually leads to an album full of pointless wankery and excessive effort. What makes this so great is that this HAS all of that wankery. This HAS all of that mindless sweeping. Danza was blessed with a vocalist that can handle a guitarist of Josh Travis' caliber, and that could be the very reason this is as significant as it is. Jessie Freeland takes all of the complex instrumentation and paints a picture of what it's supposed to mean with passionate lyrics and brooding screams. Danza IIII is unforgiving and Danza IIII is unorthodox, but it is undoubtedly the most focused and cohesive work to date from this band, and was very much needed in a genre famined for one last breath of fresh air.
For it's time: 4.5/5
For it's genre: 5/5
Overall While Intoxicated: 4.8/5
The Alpha / The Omega, Rudy x3, This Is Forever, Paul Bunyan and The Blue Ox