Review Summary: The ambitious nature of Internet Killed the Audio Star can at times hinder the quality, but there is no denying the phenomenal song writing skills and musicianship on display
Debut albums can be tricky things. The artist has no expectations on how long it should or should not take them to write the album thus leaving them with an endless amount of time to craft exactly the album they desire. Sometimes the debut will fall flat, lacking focus that the band will later define several albums into their career. Occasionally, a band will release a debut and it will be so awe inspiring that it is hailed as an instant classic. Introduce the trio that is the New Approach for Martyr's Expressions, or N.A.M.E. for short. Where exactly does N.A.M.E. fall in the spectrum?
"Comparing photos. Then and now, now and then. Wondering what all went wrong. Baby, you're a hard act to follow."
"Killer Whales, Man" kicks off the album and a few things are immediately apparent; First, the band has some pretty nifty song titles such as "My Sweetheart, the Whore", "Empathic Communicator" and "You'll Never Die in This Town Again". They certainly have a penchant for the intriguing and the lyrics follow suit. Secondly, the band clearly loves the Dillinger Escape plan and other mathcore bands. They wear their influences on their sleeves and that's not necessarily a bad thing because they keep things fresh by adding melodic elements to the mix. Vocalist/Guitarist Wes Fareas transitions from manic screams, to low growls and clean vocals with ease while bassist Jeremy Fareas (brothers!
) and drummer Bobby Gibbs lay down some absolutely astounding bass and drum work to compliment Wes' chaotic and plodding riffs. Lastly, an unimaginable amount of things occur within the first track. And that, my friends, is the defining factor of Internet Killed the Audio Star
; An onslaught of ideas.
The album largely stays within the realm of mathcore with complex noodle riffing, dissonance and polyrhythms but the band introduces plenty of jazz, progressive metal, dancey and droning moments to keep you on your toes. You'll find southern grooves and chugs in "Killer Whales, Man" and "Mare". You'll find jazz in "My Sweetheart, the Whore", "The Sycophant, the Saint & the Gamefox" and closing track "Charmer" and that dancey breakdown in"Dave Mustaine" is almost irresistible to jam to. "It's Mr. Nasty Time!"
. Sometimes the ideas don't mesh as well as you'd hope or the transitions aren't exactly smooth, but the efforts are admirable and when they succeed, damn do they succeed.
"This is my life now... Yet I hope to never wake up."
The mid-album four part series "Empathic Communicator", meant to be viewed as one track, is where the album really takes you on a wild journey and it's here where the band finds itself at their strongest. Their ambitious nature is perfectly on display yielding amazing results as the series traverses a plethora of genres and tempos. Hitting hard with their mathcore roots in "Homage to the Hunters" and "Bee Bee" introducing progressive elements and a bit of hardcore before slowing things down with "Your Sun Machine..." and "How to Murder the Earth" introducing post-metal elements. Had the album entirely consisted of these four tracks, this album would easily be hailed as a classic by most fans in the genre.
So what exactly holds back the ambitious Internet Killed the Audio Star
? Well, ambition and structure. The album isn't exactly easy to digest in all of it's 77 minute nature. Had some ideas been trimmed or refined, the album would be easier to take in as a whole and better for it. It is also extremely obvious that the bookends, while good in their own right, just aren't as strong as the middle portion that is the "Empathic Communicator" series. This causes the album to sort of sputter out a bit when the last tracks come around simply due to the high quality prior, though each track certainly features it's own highlights.
So where does N.A.M.E. fall on that failed debut or awe inspiring classic debut status? Somewhere towards the classic status thanks to some obscenely high quality tracks but falling short due to a lack of focus and proper trimming. Still, this is one hell of a debut and if they continue the quality found in the middle portion of the album for their next release, they should certainly find themselves as one of the forerunners of their scene.
"If there's anyone foolish enough to want this world the way it is, then let him have it..."