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Last Active 04-02-13 8:02 am
Joined 05-17-11

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05.04.24 albums that shaped my youth04.27.24 Artificialbox's Record Collection
03.11.24 The Holy Trinity of Risecore01.23.24 more albums like this pls
01.20.24 Thursday Retrospective01.14.24 A VERY ARTIFICIAL 2023
12.10.23 weird list but OK12.02.23 re-discovering the waterfront
10.25.23 five albums for each year of life12.02.22 roasted for having no friends
11.20.22 remembered my password01.27.13 100

The Holy Trinity of Risecore

Risecore is a somewhat derogatory term for bands who released music on Rise Records in the mid 2000s to early 2010s. It was applied mostly to metalcore bands that basically took the blueprint of Attack Attack's "Stick Stickly" and printed copies of that shit like dollar bills from the proverbial money tree. Synth laden crabcore breakdowns and sing along choruses repeated ad nauseum until the style quickly became a parody of itself. I personally have a huge soft spot for this kind of music. Asking Alexandria's first album in particular was hugely influential to my life, and even though I don't think that album aged well, it singlehandedly introduced me to the world of metalcore and made me a fan for life. For all the shit that people give risecore bands, I think their accessible approach to heavy music did a lot to bring new fans into the fold, and ultimately bolster the health of the alternative music scene more than people give them credit for. Despite the brain mushing mundanity of this particular scene, there were a few standout Rise bands from that era that I think got unfairly lumped in with the rest of the crowd. Real ones know what's up, but the average person might not be able to discern these acts from the rest of the roster. These bands broke the mold by pushing the boundaries of the formula and experimenting more with atmosphere and vibes. Unsurprisingly, these bands are all connected in a way. After Of Machines drowned in a gofundme scandal and Oceana morphed into an electronic indie band named Polyenso, members of both bands joined forces to form Lead Hands. Finding this out years after being a fan of all three was mind blowing but also like... a big "no shit sherlock" moment.
1Of Machines
As If Everything Was Held In Place

Of Machines has possibly the saddest tale of tale of the bunch. This band had all the right ingredients and so much potential that was squandered by poor band relations and a singer that allegedly ran off with the GoFundMe donations that was supposed to fund their next recording. As If Everything Was Held In Place would still go down as a celebrated landmark in the genre, garnering a cult following where everyone who knows it seems to love it. This whole band was great but the quality that really elevated them was the combination of Dylan Anderson’s knack for crafting beautiful vocal melodies, and super clean guitar leads drenched in reverb and delay walking all over the album with a gentle stride.
2Of Machines
As If Everything Was Held In Place

I wouldn’t say Anderson’s vocals are that unique in sound, but he has a sense of power and control that is really hard to achieve with such a high range. It’s impressive. The contrast between the soaring atmospheric leads over breakdowns and Bennet Freeman’s screams also creates a hypnotic dichotomy that is impossible to not grab your attention. They don’t just rely on cheap tricks to sell their music either. Underneath the pretty leads and impressive vocal performances is just solid song writing that encapsulates moments of serenity and passion with effortless style.

Oceana had a more average career but was nonetheless riddled with member changes and major shifts in sound direction. Their first album was honestly fantastic, but it wasn’t until they got a new vocalist and doubled down on the atmosphere that they really came into their own. One of my absolute favourite things about this album is Brennan Taulbee’s voice. He utilizes a more subdued range than a lot of other singers in the scene, but he has this immaculate quiver to his voice that makes him sound like he’s trembling while confessing sins from the altar. It’s uniquely addicting, and if I ever did clean vocals in a band, he would be my number one inspiration. His harsh vocals are also deafening, and when combined with Jack Burns tasteful guitar riffs, they create haunting vibrations that you can feel in your bones.

The vibe of this whole album is oppressive and you can feel it from the first few seconds. It’d sad, it’s angry, it’s depressing, and the fantastic production work really conveys these feelings with a staggering clarity. The lyrics are another story, and as I’ll admit that I had no idea what they were singing about when I initially fell in love with this album. Oceana was comprised of some young christian boys who thought they were fighting the good fight, and they essentially created an anti-abortion concept album (birth eater… duh). Most of the lyrics are penned from the perspective of an unborn child, angry at the world for taking away his chance at life. I’ve had to do a lot of mental gymnastics over the years in order to keep enjoying this album, because the music is just too fucking good. The lyrics on their own are actually quite good too if you completely remove and ignore the context, and I think - for the most part - they did a good job at leaving the lyrics vague enough.
Clean Head

After this album, the band went through a major stylistic change. They dropped the screaming and the breakdowns, cleaned up their tones and wrote an EP that was much more light hearted and non controversial, albeit still spiritual in nature. The Clean Head EP is honestly some of their best work, and I will go to my grave wondering what would have happened if the band followed it up with a whole album in the same style. It probably would have ended up in my top 5 albums of all time. Jack's guitar playing is so creative and impactful. Brennan's lyricism and vocal delivery is phenomenal. Denny Agosto's drum work dances around with a gentle intricacy that never fails to make my ears perk up. This EP is a spiritual experience whether you believe in a god or not.
6Lead Hands
Lead Hands

Lead Hands was a post hardcore band born from the ashes of Oceana and Of Machines, and their existence was much more similar to the latter. They released one fantastic album before squandering their potential in a battle of interpersonal and financial dramas. This band saw OG Oceana screamer Keith Jones teaming back up with guitarist Jack Burns, Of Machines drummer Brent Guistwite, and VeraEmerge vocalist Spencer Pearson (who sounded quite like a dreamier version of Dylan Anderson).
7Lead Hands
Lead Hands

This band took the heavy, moody riffs of Oceana and the atmospheric leads of Of Machines and then cranked up the ambiance and slowed everything else way the fuck down. Lead Hands is heavy, but it's also soft and pretty. How they managed to do both so well is still a wonder to me. Guitars are tuned to drop B, but they are played clean, and only have a bit of overdrive during the heaviest parts. Riffs plod along methodically and every major shift in dynamics feels intentional, like a seed planted in the earth and given time to grow. They really tried to trim the excess here and approached the writing with a less is more mindset. This album can be an atmospheric slow burn and has been criticized for it's monotony, but I think it's beautiful. It can easily fade into background noise if you aren't paying attention, but it's intricacies blossom with repeated listens and it becomes very rewarding over time. God only knows how good a sophomore from this band could have been.
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