City In The Sea
Below the Noise


3.5
great

Review

by AtBRareform USER (3 Reviews)
August 21st, 2013 | 14 replies


Release Date: 08/20/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A surprising debut.

When Sumerian Records first signed City in the Sea during the fall of last year I assumed the worst. All there was to go off of was the band’s name, and an odd video by Sumerian asking fans to compare and choose one of two song mixes. Stigmas I associated with their name, and a lacking promotion by the label, caused me to dismiss City in the Sea and move on. Needless to say, I was very surprised upon first listening to their debut Below the Noise.

Below the Noise is a relatively conventional metalcore album in the scheme of things. It relies heavily on central tenets of the genre, which usually doesn’t turn out very well. Conventionality is not a bad thing in this instance though. The instrumentation on the album is excellent. Well-phrased solos, bass parts, and drum patterns prevent the album from stagnating, while the synth work adds welcome flourishes without feeling overburdening (cough, new BOO, cough). The end of “Without an Answer” exemplifies City in the Sea’s interest in avoiding monotony; rather than just ending in a typical breakdown they choose to add other instrumentation to vary the part. Below the Noise may not be a reinvention of the genre, but its superb composition keeps it from drowning in a sea of its contemporaries.

The clean singing on Below the Noise is something that certainly needs special recognition. Whereas many current metalcore/post-hardcore bands employ high cleans, sometimes even beyond their singer’s capabilities, City in the Sea’s guitarist Jeffrey Christian employs a lower, gravelly tone; it is extremely refreshing, emotionally engaging, and helps to keep the music feeling diverse throughout the album. Songs like “Dead Beliefs,” and “Discovering Oceans” fully illustrate the extent to which Christian can utilize his voice; it definitely helps to set City in the Sea apart in an oversaturated genre full of uninspired mimicry.

Lyrically Below the Noise is what you would expect from an album within the metalcore genre. Themes of hopelessness and redemption dominate the album, which is interesting enough. Unclean vocalist Todd Christopher does an admirable job shifting between deep growls and high shrieks that sound full and powerful. He definitely feels committed to what he’s singing about, which is important in a genre that often relies on emotional conveyance. Guest appearances from Aaron Matts of Betraying the Martyrs and Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria strengthen their respective songs, the latter being surprising.

Overall, City in the Sea have released an excellent album. Although they fall back on central conventions of the metalcore genre their compositional skills more than make up for it. Below the Noise is a great debut showcasing all of the band member’s talents, and should gain the band some new fans.


user ratings (50)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
bloc
August 20th 2013


34872 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah this is improved greatly by the clean vocals, which are really damn good. Never heard a voice quite like that in metalcore.

I only wish everything else was better.

TooLateToGoBack
August 20th 2013


1767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interesting.

Gonna give this a listen.

spartanawasp
August 20th 2013


303 Comments


Checked out Discovering Oceans because it featured Ben Bruce (don't hate me!), and now I've found an
awesome new band.

Also, pos'd.

AtBRareform
August 20th 2013


36 Comments


Yeah, the cleans on this are really great, but I disagree about your stance on the music bloc. This is a far cry above the swarm of generic metalcore. Also, thanks to anyone who pos'd; I'm gonna start trying to write more reviews. I'm just lazy...

JustinKing
August 20th 2013


1308 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Actually really liked this. Nothing revolutionary, but it's got a fairly unique sound. The harsh vocalist reminds me of Tyler Smith from The Word Alive at times, but it isn't a bad thing to me. The clean vocals are definitely a highlight.

RosaParks
August 21st 2013


14912 Comments


this kinda sucks

DropdeadWHA
August 21st 2013


634 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, this is weak.

corycantrell
August 21st 2013


45 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review man. Im really digging this album

Omeggia
August 21st 2013


120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I don't think the vocals are all that unique, not bad but pretty run of the mill for metalcore.

pjquinones747
August 21st 2013


765 Comments


I like your review, so pos there, but this band is meh.

Digging: Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence

MegaJake1024
August 21st 2013


728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really enjoyed this album. First time I heard these guys, I wasn't that impressed, but they're actually very good. Becoming Stronger is one of my favorite tracks of the year. Album definitely has a more 'epic' feel than most metalcore albums. I think they'd be a stronger band though if they varied up the structure a little bit. Love the clean vox choruses, but I wish there were some cleans outside the choruses, and throwing in a few harsh vocal choruses wouldn't hurt either. Each song having two or three clean choruses and no other cleans gets repetitive.

Digging: No Bragging Rights - The Concrete Flower

AtBRareform
August 21st 2013


36 Comments


Well, all I can ask is people give it a listen haha. Thanks for the review compliments.

pmd219
August 24th 2013


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven't heard the music like this a long time. It is a masterpiece. Fantastic! I like it!

ChiefSmackahoe
January 8th 2014


5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a big fan of the lead vocals but the instrumentals more then make up for it! That synth really makes things interesting as well.



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