Issues
Issues


2.5
average

Review

by Devon Longerbeam USER (11 Reviews)
February 16th, 2014 | 152 replies


Release Date: 02/18/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Issues is and is not for everyone.

I would presume that with Issues there was never any pretense about their approach to music; these dudes are bonafide genre whores. Since their EP “Black Diamonds,” Issues have written songs that mix post-hardcore and metalcore with radio pop, R&B, and EDM in interesting albeit potentially tacky ways. The main difference that separates this self-titled with the “Black Diamonds” EP is that Issues seem to have matured; this has not occurred only on a musical level, where they are now blending the varying styles more fluidly, but also lyrically, where they seemed to have moved past some of their grievances onto more focused witticisms. However, this self-titled is a blatant mixture of stereotypical genres and their tropes, where each member of Issues has their comfortable role to play. Despite how well they fulfill those roles, the members of Issues are still playing on borrowed time.

In their attempt to combine genres, Issues possess at least a few strengths. For one, the vast amount of sounds included on this album create a unique atmosphere for each song and despite the many breakdowns that are featured, each song has a fresh feel that obscures some of the established genre clichés. There are many instances where the focus on atmosphere and tone leave their sound scattered all throughout the musical spectrum, including tones and melodies like that of Fear Before (ex: the verses of “The Langdon House” and the first minute of “Personality Cult”) to djent riffs and low-end guitar riffing reminiscent of the Deftones. Issues adorn the metal template with pop hooks that are in the same vein as Lady Gaga or Pitbull (ex: “Late”) and the R&B of Justin Timberlake. Additionally, each member of the band is highly skilled and never lack in their contributions to the overall quality of each song. There is an emotional and cathartic energy present that transcends some of the superficial qualities of the metal and EDM influences that Issues have on this record; there are endless amounts of nuances in each song, which really add a genuine touch to the format of the tracks. Tyler Carter also provides many highlights, varying his style from his falsetto to a more aggressive yell; all of which make his performance quite enjoyable and unpredictable. And surprisingly, AJ Rebollo proves formidable for being the only guitarist and creates many interesting melodic sections that supplement both the rhythm and lead duties.

What is ultimately the most unfortunate aspect of this album is that the music is at odds with itself: Whether or not the members of Issues recognize it, the sheer amount of styles they have attempted here on this record are going to be hard to replicate again albeit a third or fourth time. Moreover, trying to include clean vocals into the genre of metal is not a difficult task because many listeners of metal are accustomed to that style and approach. Yet, trying to fuse metal with R&B, EDM, Hip Hop, and Post-Hardcore is very hard to do tastefully. Upon first listen, the music can be jarring due to the fact that the members of Issues are attempting the synthesis of at least two or more genres in each song; this is impressive but also unfocused. Certain songs sound like mash-ups or two different versions of the same song (ex "Late") because the conversion from radio pop to metalcore cannot be made smoothly. The selection of songs that Issues have crafted for this release also seem to not relate on a thematic level; at times the songs are very shallow and basic in tone while other tracks are heartfelt and passionate. Ultimately, it appears that Issues have a problem with their consistency; not only in their ability to sound like the same band but also in their direction. For example, you could consider the odd the transitions from tracks like “Mad At Myself” to “Life Of a Nine" which in this case includes a transition from a sugary R&B hook, that is not dissimilar to a Justin Bieber track, to the Nu-metal riff that begins “Life Of a Nine." In the end, each song has a metalcore template that is being slowly forced out and replaced by something that sounds like Tyler's side project. There are sections of the album where it is easy to see harsh vocalist Michael Bohn taking a backseat to the crooning and energetic Tyler Carter, who has more to offer in terms of technique and who is featured more frequently.

It is safe to say that Issues have crafted something that both differentiates and diminishes the quality of their creativity; while they have achieved a fairly successful fusion of many styles they have also pigeonholed themselves into being that band; a gimmick. It is somewhat ironic yet perhaps totally intentional. And honestly, whether or not Issues have longevity as a group or if they care has very little to do with what Issues’ currently has to offer, which is a fun record that proves one axiom true: Issues is and is not for everyone.



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user ratings (265)
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2.7
average
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2014


3449 Comments


mix post-hardcore and metalcore with radio pop, R&B, and EDM


this just sounds horrendous. not a bad review though

climactic
February 16th 2014


18900 Comments


omg kill it with fire

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2014


50355 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

The average rating greatly disturbs me

Digging: The Brave Little Abacus - Masked Dancers

Azn.
February 16th 2014


5609 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

[2]

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2014


28511 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

much better review than the other two

SpinLightTwo
February 18th 2014


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks for the feedback ya'll.



Mort.
February 18th 2014


3598 Comments


you get a pos for mentioning fear before

Digging: Down I Go - This is Robotcore

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 18th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Review uses no comparisons to bubblegum, steak, and corn smoothies. pos.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 18th 2014


50355 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Nice work

OwMySnauze
February 18th 2014


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

how can you guys like this beibercore?????

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

pepster50
February 18th 2014


328 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is a complete guilty pleasure.. just can't get some of those hooks out of my head !

TooLateToGoBack
February 18th 2014


1764 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Disappear (Remember When) would be great without that hilarious transition.

Rest of the album is pretty damn terrible, though.

Digging: Pianos Become the Teeth - Keep You

swordsforhands
February 18th 2014


406 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Good review, bad, bad album.

Digging: Juneva - Juneva

SpinLightTwo
February 18th 2014


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks so much for reading ya'll! I am glad to have the feature.

cliiint
February 18th 2014


600 Comments


guilty pleasures as a concept is some bs. i knew i would like this but not so much so fast, which makes me believe it'll fizzle out as fast as black diamonds and bands similar to this

LordePots
February 19th 2014


6607 Comments


dat summary ...

Digging: Alt-J - This Is All Yours

DanielNightLewis
February 19th 2014


552 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Hey look, it's Letlive without the backpatches

HighandDriving
February 19th 2014


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Letlive sucks more dick than you.

TomAkaVeto
February 19th 2014


1636 Comments


" For example, you could consider the odd the transitions from tracks like “Mad At Myself” to “Life Of a Nine," which in this case includes a transition from a sugary R&B hook, that is not dissimilar to a Justin Bieber track, to the Nu-metal riff that begins “Life Of a Nine."

What is this sentence?

TomAkaVeto
February 19th 2014


1636 Comments


'Hey look, it's Letlive without the backpatches"

Are you seriously implying that Issues and Letlive sound similar?!



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