Review Summary: Albuquerque's seemingly only heavy music act rocks hard when it comes to everything but vocals. Recommended mostly to fans of post-hardcore and some metalcore, with an emphasis on the "core."
Talk about unusual; a metal band from Albuquerque, New Mexico? The dusty southwestern city has certainly never been seen as an export of any kind of heavy music, and while Caustic Lye may not be the most brutal metal act in the world, it’s clear that they are making a strong effort to turn at least a few listeners’ heads with their second release, That That Is Is.
Caustic Lye’s sound is certainly doesn’t bring anything new to the table, either, but then again, how many truly innovative bands are out there? Caustic Lye blend the crunchy riffs and pseudo growls of metalcore with the clean, high pitched vocals of modern emo, putting their sound somewhere between the post hardcore of Chiodos, and the somewhat forced vocals of Matchbook Romance. While it is evident that vocalist Jespah Torres is making a concerted effort to inject a certain amount of emotion into his singing, the majority of his performance comes off sounding somewhat immature. Jespah’s growls are certainly better than his clean singing, but the good news is that the vocals are the only aspect that the band really needs serious work on.
The other three quarters of this band are more than competent musicians, demonstrating this fact on a few truly solid tracks including opener “All This…(I Said Under My Breath),” the up tempo “HeartEclipseSun” and bass heavy “A Burning Embrace.” The rhythm section is especially solid, the bass and drums building around each other, with bassist Raul Uribe representing the “low end frequencies” (as described on the band’s website) better than most metal bassists will allow themselves to. While guitarist Nathan Tanner’s performance is not particularly jaw dropping, he does sprinkle some nice hooks around the disc’s tracks.
That That Is Is hardly comes with a high recommendation, but for fans who like their metal with a side of emo, this could be right up there alley. At the very least, Caustic Lye is worth checking out for their meaty rhythm section.