Seven Lions
Worlds Apart


4.2
excellent

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
July 6th, 2014 | 21 replies | 2,023 views


Release Date: 04/29/2014 | Tracklist


One question immediately comes to mind upon listening to Worlds Apart, Seven Lions’ newest release: why did it take this long? After the initial glow of brostep’s rise subsided a couple years ago, those of us who were products of the mind-boggling wobbles - the really glorious ones, writhing like quicksilver and not just growling but roaring, deafening and proud - lost the thread of the style’s evolution somewhere along the way. When the dust kicked up by Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites eventually settled, we found that the producers everywhere were almost swindling us, repackaging different settings on Massive and Sylenth under the guise of some superficial tactic to make us think the style was continuing to mutate - a violin, maybe, or an uplifting female vocal that stands out from the plethora of uplifting female vocals already released because, you know, this one uses slightly different words to describe the exhilaration of bright lights and material excess. Sure, when we got sick of everyone copying Skrillex bar for bar, we found a new ultra-melodic direction, but all that really did was delay the inevitable realization that as long as the focus was on wicked wobbles at the expense of an interesting song structure, the scene wouldn’t be able to sustain itself.

Seven Lions was supposed to be one of the Chosen Ones, kick-starting the creativity we’d missed and ushering in the Second Golden Age of Brostep or something. And, to be honest, his Polarize EP almost did that. He’d already made a name for himself with his then-unique employment of euphoric trance synths and off-the-wall sidechaining and stuttering over a mid-tempo half-time framework, and the EP, his first post-breakthrough release, brought in a sorely lacking element of novelty, real and heartfelt newness as opposed to gimmicky orchestral fusion or whatever else happened to be the flavor of the month. After that, though, he hit a stumbling-block. All of his trance remixes started to sound the same (you can only delay the re-entry of huge walls of sound in too-similar ways so many times before listeners start to catch a whiff of formula), and his original compositions - as evidenced by his unimpressively good Days to Come EP - sounded like he was trying to create something original by combining his original sound with unoriginal ones, foreboding trance combined with generic pop-house and dirty electro tropes.

Though some of us had mostly given up on brostep come 2014, we still wanted something new to legitimize the concept that there was such thing as mid-heavy dubstep which wasn’t content to settle down as merely a replication of what had already been done before. It’s why we went into Skrillex’s Recess with such a fervor, hoping against hope that he was actually doing something interesting for the first time in a few years, and coming out after hearing “All’s Fair in Love and Brostep” with desolate looks on our faces. Despite the glimmer of optimism we held dear, though, by and large we didn’t admit outwardly to having any sort of hope for the style. “It’s all gone downhill since 2010,” we said. “No one’s been doing anything interesting for years, because there are still too many people who are content to listen to whatever dubstep the EDM Network is pumping out all over YouTube. It’s a lost cause.”

Worlds Apart comes as that justification which we’ve been searching for the longest time. We finally have concrete evidence that brutal wobbles aren’t necessarily a hallmark of poor quality, thanks to the shockingly excellent five songs featured here. Seven Lions deconstructs and reconstructs the very same things we despise in the wrong context, instead displaying them in a fascinating and gorgeous new light. Take the title track, for example, which walks with very carefully measured steps through a euphoric pop-dubstep introduction, ebbing and flowing until the producer finally lets go almost halfway through the song and drops a bass bomb that puts almost anything else released this year to shame. The painstaking care taken with every stuttered roar and every icy percussive hit is absolutely stunning, too - the cool blue brilliance of the monolithic “Nepenthe” and the subverted pop-house of “Strangers” seem to be products of eons of work.

The best quality of Worlds Apart, aside from its infinitely intricate and satisfying construction, is that it stands as a sort of state-of-the-genre address. It sets the bar high for other brostep released from here on out - we won’t just compare new music to sounds that were fresh four years ago but also releases like this, ones that sound fresh now. It’s a challenge to budding producers, a call to find a gem of an idea and polish and polish until it positively gleams. Finally, it’s a statement of quality, proof that brostep has a creative right to exist and proof of the style’s legitimacy. Worlds Apart is a wonderful release almost regardless of your stance on the general unoriginality of brostep, and it deserves all the recognition and praise it can get.




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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014



3440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

prediction here is that over half the comments will reference my username in some way

aaaaand so far we're 1 for 1!

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014



31085 Comments


Well that fact that you can't go more than 2 sentences without saying that word surely doesn't help. You're turning into Joe Muggs with all this wishful justification. Stop trying to constantly defend brostep/edm every time you review something, and instead just tell us why you think it's good

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014



3440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks for the advice. I've been wanting to write this review for some time so that's why it's just a bit overblown, and as it's also the first "edm" release I've reviewed positively in quite a while I figured it wouldn't be terrible to do a lot of justification (and tbh a lot of it is done to convince myself as well as the reader). I totally get where you're coming from, but I find it hard to take a release like this in a vacuum - it's colored by Recess, it's colored by Days to Come, it's colored by all my dissatisfaction with the style as of late. As such, I didn't want to say "this is a good album" and end discussion there, because I feel like this has implications beyond that, but maybe I'm reading too deeply into this.

ExplosiveOranges
July 6th 2014



2248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That moment where the staff review section on the main page has two of Will's reviews right next to each other. Gotta Czech this out soon.

Digging: A Slow Descent - Secrets of a Melting Moon

Diamondize
July 6th 2014



1296 Comments


i really hope this is as good as u say it is haven't really dug any of his stuff since his first ep

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014



3440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I wasn't expecting it since I feel the same but it actually is

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014



8327 Comments


God that cover art's pretty. Too bad this is a dubstep release, otherwise I'd be all over this based purely on that cover haha.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2014



3440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Metal listen to Nepenthe (on SC but I'm on a phone and can't link atm) and you may just like it

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2014



31085 Comments


I totally get where you're coming from, but I find it hard to take a release like this in a vacuum - it's colored by Recess, it's colored by Days to Come, it's colored by all my dissatisfaction with the style as of late. As such, I didn't want to say "this is a good album" and end discussion there, because I feel like this has implications beyond that, but maybe I'm reading too deeply into this.


Don't get me wrong because I get all of that, and while there's nothing wrong with context sometimes it's better just to let the album breathe on its own rather than simply going down the route of "hey, I know this gets grouped with Skrillex and the like, but trust me this one is good". And I say that only because it seems like every time you do cover an "edm" release (and positively) that always seems to be the prevailing argument. Like, I knew exactly what to expect from the review before I even clicked on it - youtube comments this, brostep bad that, UKF this etc etc

Also, and this is just for shits and giggles but:

prediction here is that over half the comments will reference my username in some way


Ctrl-f the review: 7 times (and it's not even a real word!)

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2014



3440 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

hey hey only 6 times since the 7th is part of a song title (although you're right, that last paragraph uses it an embarrassing amount)

Apollo
July 7th 2014



10287 Comments


I'm getting old, WTF is "brostep".

ResidentNihilist
July 7th 2014



1011 Comments


it's like a step right but where your bro.

Cimnele
July 7th 2014



359 Comments


brost EP

Calc
July 7th 2014



12129 Comments


its kinda like a curb stomp for your white buds

Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

Azn.
July 7th 2014



5604 Comments


I'm a fan of this review and this artist, but unfortunately it's true that SL has been lacking in creativity as of late

VaxXi
July 8th 2014



372 Comments


Brostep isnt even an official genre. Just some coin from the old fucks who can't get over how much the dubstep sound evolved since 2009. ._.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 8th 2014



31085 Comments


Don't know if evolution is the word I'd use, but yeah

dh198
July 8th 2014



360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listened to Nepenthe, and it was pretty great. I'll plan on listening to the whole thing soon.

HarryBoBerry
July 9th 2014



108 Comments


I don't always listen to dubstep, but when I do I listen to Seven Lions

Steeeveee
July 15th 2014



3 Comments


If you use the word brostep enough, people here might start seeing this as brostep (even though there are way better ways of 'calling' this 'genre'). Then again the first three sections of this review are just there to whine about what's wrong with the brostepsituation and brostep itself. The 4th is about the actual release (so it's euphoric pop-dubstep/house, that is excellent). And the fifth is again about brostep. Call this an article about brostep, instead of a Worlds Apart review.



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