With Life In Mind
Grievances


3.0
good

Review

by UO910 USER (8 Reviews)
September 19th, 2010 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With Life in Mind provide a slightly distorted look into who they really are with their debut Grievances.

Hello, my name is UO910, and I have been a fan of heavy, unrelenting metalcore for years. I do know and understand that this description encompasses many undesirable bands whose musical competence is less-than-stellar, but I do also know and understand that when done correctly, it can be an extremely rewarding and enjoyable listen. Unfortunately, there is an unbelievably fine line between the former and the latter. Yet another Pennsylvanian metalcore group, With Life in Mind fall on both sides of this line with their debut full-length entitled Grievances.

The album opens with its title track, which is chaotic a minute-and-a-half interlude of sorts with some screams and heavy riffs. The first real track on the album, "King of Frauds" immediately lets the listener know what the next 40 or so minutes will be like. It establishes Grievances as a very fast and punishing record. A few things are quite apparent after hearing this and the next song, "The Collapse of Men": vocalist Justin Kraus has range only visible with a microscope and WLIM's songs are going to be over-saturated with breakdowns and therefore will do very little to differentiate themselves from each other.

Although Kraus’ range is painfully diminutive, he does a good job within it. He is a strong screamer; if he could develop range I certainly think he could be a great screamer, but as it stands now he is extremely average. WLIM don’t use breakdowns to a ridiculous extent like some bands do, but they still use them a lot. They also use pretty much the same song structure in most songs, rarely branching out into good bridges or using timing changes. This all causes Grievances to become a train-wreck of similarity. Drummer Joshua Ireson is a very average metalcore drummer. His additions never extend beyond your typical china breakdowns and double bass-heavy verses. Guitarists Sean Steinmetz and Matthew Babenko and bassist Conor Hesse are all above average at their respective instruments. Steinmetz and Babenko provide pretty good riffs most of the time, and Hesse is actually audible a decent amount.

So far I have really focused on the bad of the record and I’m sure a lot of you are wondering why I gave it a three. Let me say, it does have its high points. "King of Frauds" is a pretty solid song, and probably the most popular song from the album. "The Collapse of Men" and "Surroundings" feature a couple of good breakdowns. "Plagued" is plagued (signature dry humor) by a boring first half, but rebounds nicely with some good gang vocals:
'With every odd stacked against us, we walk as men through a sea of giants.'

Grievances closes with "Our Endless Existence". Since the album started pretty strong, I expected a lot out of this song. I figured WLIM would add another solid book end to complement "King of Frauds". "Our Endless Existence" delivered, being the strongest track on the album. On paper, this song shouldn’t have been so good, but it was strangely well put-together. The main feature of the first half of the song is a pretty generic breakdown around the one minute mark. This would normally be a yawn of a breakdown, but it is flowed-into pretty seamlessly with a bone-crushing verse, and is then picked up by a surprisingly melodic verse with some gang vocals. From that point on, it is carried by robust screams and tasty guitar riffs.

Like I said above, this record falls on both sides of the fine metalcore line of judgment. "Anxiety Ridden", "The Human Condition", and (to a ridiculous degree) "Self-Righteous" all have a terrible case of filler-fever, which is pretty inexcusable considering how short this record is. There really isn’t a redeeming quality in any of them and "Self-Righteous" is just plain bad. "Silenced" started out very powerful, and was filled with potential until an absolutely derailing breakdown (one of the worst I’ve heard) left it reeling.

Producer Carson Slovak created a really awkward atmosphere in Grievances, I really don’t like what he did much at all. He gave the whole record that whole Joey Sturgis dirty-cause-I-want-to-be feel with (for lack of a better word) scratchy production throughout. You can’t clearly hear all the instruments by themselves like you should be able to, they are all just kinda jumbled together. Another annoying thing is the constant use of a bass drop before most breakdowns. Simply put, if Slovak had gone for cleaner production, this would have been a better record.

With Grievances falling so heavily on both sides of the spectrum, it’s a little bit hard to sum everything up and put it into perspective. There is no doubt this album isn’t very good, but there is also no doubt that this band has good potential to make one. I debated between a 2.5 and 3 for this album for a while, considering all of its pros and cons. In the end I decided on a 3, but if Sputnik had a 2.75, this album would be its mascot. In the end, 2.75 rounds up to 3, much the same this band can round itself up to a solid metalcore act if they vary song structures, improve on their instruments (mainly Kraus and his screaming), and avoid such shoddy production. I would recommend this only to those who are fans of the metalcore genre and can look past its flaws. If you only delve into the most accessible metalcore, are new to the genre, or plain don’t like it, stay away.

Recommended Tracks:
"King of Frauds"
"Surroundings"
"Plagued"
"Our Endless Existence"




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user ratings (43)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
UO910
September 19th 2010


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is my third review, and constructive criticism or compliments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Counterfeit
September 19th 2010


17837 Comments


Hello, my name is UO910, and I have been a fan of heavy, unrelenting metalcore for years.


Irving
Emeritus
September 19th 2010


7499 Comments


I thought this was a good review. Now, I'm pretty new at this myself (three reviews under my belt, just like you), but if I were to give my two cents, I'd say that the album and song titles are a bit over-repeated in this one. My point being, you don't have to say "Grievances" each time you refer to the the album in question - IMHO, it makes the reading a lot less cluttered and less repetitive. The review also suffers a little from the usage of non-descriptive words like "strong", "boring", and "generic" - words that do nothing at all to advance my understanding of the band's sound, or why the song is good or bad for that matter.

That said, I liked how you gave a very frank opinion of where you thought the band stood technically, and the comment on production is also something that we don't get too much of here. I enjoyed reading this. Do keep on posting reviews!

UO910
September 19th 2010


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Irving, I will see if I can tweak it a little to make it more reader-friendly.

UO910
September 19th 2010


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fixed, Irving. I took out a few Grievance's, very's, and song titles.

deathofasalesman
September 19th 2010


6815 Comments


Hello, my name is UO910, and I have been a fan of heavy, unrelenting metalcore for
years.


You used 3 "un-" prefixed adjectives in the first paragraph. Too many in my opinion. Weird, right?

vanderb0b
September 19th 2010


3473 Comments


Nice review. First sentence seems a bit superfluous. Perhaps consider italicizing instead of bolding next time, most people (myself included) consider it look better.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2010


26770 Comments


Good review.The only real suggestion's I'd make is A)use italics over bold B)don't bold(/italicize) band members or song titles. Songs should be placed in quotations and there is no reason to bold band members.

Digging: Turpitude - Brume himale

UO910
September 19th 2010


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ditched the bold for quotation marks and italics

vanderb0b
September 19th 2010


3473 Comments


Looks much better now.

bloc
September 19th 2010


61822 Comments


Album was totally average until I got to the last 3 songs, those were pretty good.

Digging: Fluke - Puppy

UO910
September 19th 2010


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really didn't like Self-Righteous or Silenced but Our Endless Existence was damn good

East Hastings
September 19th 2010


4409 Comments


I thought their EP sucked, I won't check this out.

PinkBlackberry
September 19th 2010


2346 Comments


Neat review.

I don't mind the band so much, The singing is alright. So is the riffing

gabethepiratesquid
January 25th 2011


4522 Comments


My favorite JUNcore album.

UO910
January 27th 2011


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i've been listening to this a little more lately, and MY GOD is surroundings good

Spec
February 8th 2011


35952 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Interesting sound. Terrible artwork though.

UO910
February 9th 2011


115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ha yeah i would have to agree with that

Spec
February 13th 2011


35952 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really fun to listen to while drunk though.

Karrbomb
June 6th 2011


44 Comments


haven't even listened to these guys yet. nicely written review. not much more you can do with what is essentially "just another metalcore band". don't know if i will check this band out, but it is nice to see a review that will be honest to those new to the genre.



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