Review Summary: For half of the band not being out of high school yet, What's Left of Her creates a blend of melodic feeling and progressive movement that appeals to fans of heavier music and resounds melodically pleasing as well.
Often times, local acts rarely release pieces of music that actually resound in ones mind and leave it asking, "What am I hearing?" Consisting of five teenagers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, What's Left Of Her bring a new take on dropped tuned metal. Most metal music has no room for rise and fall of tensions, and tend to rely on an onslaught of loud drumming and harmonic minor keys. With What's Left of Her's most recent release, Perceptions, this all changes. THey heavily rely on drawn out synth chords, or random glitches of sound combined with piano fills that give the music it's own feel. At ten songs long, Perceptions has quite a bit of rise and falls, ranging from polyrhythms in dissonant keys to displays of technical precision on their instruments.
The album beings with an intro track entitled "Prologue," that first introduces the listener to an open sound scape with random glitches for about forty second that leads into a snare and dissonant guitar count off. The band is counting a polyrhythm in 4/4 that repeats every seven eight notes, showing off their technical ability, similar to signed bands such as Veil of Maya or Born Of Osiris, without that "generic" metal feel. The synths and cymbals enter in and blast the polyrhythm for a few more bars.
One thing that should not be taken for granted is the production, which allows every track to flow into each other, as opposed to a start and stop feel. Even before the last synth from "Prologue" fades, an upbeat drum fill speeds away the listener into "Oceans." Fast paced guitar riffs in harmony and powerful synths lead to a breakbeat, techno part at 1:20. The final fade out of the song feature a rhythmic type break of filled with sweeps on triplet sixteenth notes.
Throughout the entire album, the songs flow well, mixed with techno breaks, guitar technicality that rivals that of the most respected metal acts today. Track three on the album, "When I Was Human," show heavy use of jazz influence, using soaring piano leads overtop of changing major keys. On the other hand, track seven, "Needlework," utilizes a triplet feel that relies on fast guitar leads and a 12 tone piano lead "breakdown." Where as breakdowns in most music only drag the dong down, or present a boring waste of thirty seconds, WLOH saves their rhythms for mostly polyrhythmic patterns over laid with various synth and piano leads, provide for an actually refreshing use of a "breakdown."
Overall, Perceptions offers a refreshing new take on "heavy" music, with enough twists and melody that leaves the listener a sense of genuine creation of sound. The only con I found were the vocals, which do fit the heavier type feel, but singing and a more varied subject of topic would have added an even more unique feel. However, fans of both melodic and deathcore alike will probably find something likable in What's Left Of Her's music.
PERCEPTIONS is available for free download here: