Review Summary: One of the biggest surprises of the year
15 of 15 thought this review was well written
Fusing electronic music (namely dubstep) with rock/metal is not an original idea by any means, but when executed well it can be pleasantly surprising, especially to those more inclined towards enjoying the latter genre. Admittedly, my experience of electronic music is extremely limited, although I enjoy Pendulum from time to time I've never really cared to explore that particular avenue of music for myself, and as a result a band such as this is fairly alien to me.
However, it wasn't long before i realised what PP have achieved here with this, their second LP, and as soon as the first track, Face Stealer, roared into action I knew I was going to enjoy this album a lot. The song starts explosively, with bassy synths provided by keyboardist Jonah Wei Hass creating a thick wall of sound, serving as a jarring backdrop for vocalist/guitarist Derek Song to unleash his Matthew Bellamy-esque croon over. Song shows remarkable range on this album, and his voice has a very soothing quality that makes the album's title track a very calming experience, with his voice turning into something simply breathtaking as it rises over the synths towards the end of the song. I was also reminded of Chester Bennington on the track Playing With Matches, as his voice is filled with the same emotion displayed by Bennington on the song Pushing Me Away.
The whole thing come together marvellously thanks to drummer Justin Conway's snappy rhythm section. As the song builds up into one of the bands stadium-sized choruses, they instead descend into, somewhat predictably, a dubstep drop. Normally, this would sound horribly out of place but the band really make it work here, and Conway's efforts to contend with the chaotic bass surrounding him are to be commended, and his technique shows him to be very versatile across the board, contemplating the rest of the band fantastically and never allowing himself to be buried in the mix. His most impressive work might be on the aforementioned Playing With Matches, where he simply sounds invigorated, and he even manages to make instrumental song Glocks In The Air sound exciting when in actuality it's the very opposite, consisting of nothing but a succession of mindless dubstep drops, and irritating pitch-shifting that lacks the emotional feel of the other tracks.
Another member of the band who, somewhat surprisingly, stands out a lot is bassist Nathan Navarro. Whilst one would expect him to be completely inaudible due to the amount of dubstep utilised throughout the album, he actually contributes quite a lot, with the verses of Sucker Punch and Playing With Matches being particular highlights. He might not be doing anything new (neither is anyone on this album for that matter) but he locks into the groove of the tracks fantastically. It's almost a shame to hear him drowned in the more dubstep-centric sections, because I feel that incorporating him into these parts would have given the album an extra edge over its competitors.
Admittedly, this album doesn't have as large a 'rock' element as it might like to think. In a similar manner to Pendulum, many of the supposed 'riffs' here are merely synths posing as such. Some songs, namely Talk To Me and Family, dispense with the riffs and pulsating electronics altogether, being replaced with soft, piano driven melodies and more laid back drumming. Unfortunately, this takes away the heavy feel of the earlier, more aggressive tracks, and results in a couple of tracks that are ultimately a little too boybandish (particularly lyrically) for my taste. This doesn't mean that Song's voice isn't fantastic on these tracks (his voice on the latter once again feels very Linkin Park-esque), but it feels as if the other members take the backseat on these tracks and they simply aren't as entertaining.
However, despite the album having a weaker second half, closer All At Once is my personal favourite song, thanks to an insanely catchy chorus and a fantastic blend of chunky riffs, smooth sounding synths and a funky bassline, whilst Song's voice is at it's absolute peak on this track, conveying appropriate aggression to correspond with the desperation-filled lyrics. Also the end of the song is surprisingly heavy, and almost made me take back my earlier statement about a lack of heavy material on the album.
Overall though, there is nothing on this album that most fans of electronic music haven't heard before. If you're not in to dubstep, you're probably going to hate this album considerably, because every song here eventually succumbs to its desire to drop the bass, and though they manage to pull it off in a way that makes these sections tolerable, there's still a sense that without theses elements the band might be able to progress further along the musical spectrum. But if you do enjoy the occasional wub (and chug) in your music, I see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy this, it's fast, energetic and will undoubtedly get your blood pumping (whatever the reason may be). Although it's atypical of my taste to enjoy this, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this album, and the band deserve nothing more than my utmost praise for their efforts here.
First review guys, if it sucks please tell me. I also wrote this on my phone but I did check it first, please point out any errors. I also know the summary might sound stupid but I couldn't think of much else, and I know I overuse commas but you know, I'm sure I can improve with advice
Thanks man, the summary is bad, any suggestions on what to change it too? And I don't know why it's not showing on the
front page man, who should I ask about it?
Edit: nevermind aha I'll wait for it to be approved
Great overall assessment of the pros and cons of the album. If I can offer a little bit of criticism, try and steer clear of phrases like "in my opinion" and "my favourite", but you'll learn to avoid that pretty quick.
There's a few run on sentences, such as:
Normally, this would sound horribly out of place but the band really make it work here, and Conway's efforts to contend with the chaotic bass surrounding him are to be commended, and his technique shows him to be very versatile across the board, contemplating the rest of the band fantastically and never allowing himself to be buried in the mix.
Other than that, maybe you could combine paragraphs 2-4 (where you describe the individual performances of the members) and condense it, else the review seems a little by the numbers. My earlier reviews were notorious for this.
Great work though, look forward to reading more from you :D
Thankyou so much man, I was so nervous about submitting this haha. If I combine all those paragraphs wouldn't it result in a really huge paragraph? And yeah, I do that when writing in school and stuff, I never know when to end sentences aha. Cheers for the advice, I appreciate it a lot
"If I combine all those paragraphs wouldn't it result in a really huge paragraph?"
Not if you strip it down. You don't need entire paragraph's dedicated to each member, 2 or 3 sentences will do. I noticed you went into a bit of detail about how the members compliment each other too, so if you feel the paragraph is too large, you could save some of those points for later paragraphs, just an idea.
But don't fret, it's a very good review, just focus on saying more with fewer words.
Really good review, you passed a great "visual" idea of the album. It left me intrigued enough to go check a track! Besides that you made yourself very clear on your words, some of the things i would point out were already pointed out by Jac and Vak.
Just try to focus on approaching a reasonable number of technical aspects and avoid stuff like declaring your foreignness on a genre you're about to review at the beginning of a review. I mean, i perfectly understood where that came from, but trust me, lots of people will feel like that takes your credibility away. It's like if i ever reviewed Hacktivist (Djent + Hip Hop), even though i hardly grasp the basics of hip hop i would rather abstain from letting that out in the open IN the review, cus in the end i also know how well the whole thing sounds put together, and how well it was included on the Djent part, and i can also tell good hip hop from bad hip hop. I'm sure you feel the same towards this album. Hope i made myself clear and that you don't take this to heart, just trying to help bro!
Again, still a very good review and passed on the essential of the album. Keep it up man, writing like this on the first review is something!