Review Summary: not a cornerstone in the genre, just a masterpiece that shits all over many electronicore bands' discography
Most core bands tend to start good (for what they are) and slowly turn into something really unconcerned and boring. I See Stars is definitely not one of these bands. Their first releases didn't get much attention (mostly because they were nothing special) but Digital Renegade and New Demons pretty much turned them into the BMTH of the scene. They might have less likes on facebook than Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack! (Nativ) or Of Mice & Man but don't let the statistics fool you. Whenever someone talks about modern electronicore, I See Stars is more likely to be mentioned than Enter Shikari or Asking Alexandria is, but it doesn't really matter. Just because something is hyped, it's not necessarily good, so lets talk about the album they released about two years ago.
The opening is phenomenal. The fake orchestra is not something to be ashamed of (especially in this genre). Not only because it doesn't feel forced, but it's a perfect preparation for the next panel, a 8-step chord progression with generic, but killer drums and harsh vocals, which are quickly exchanged by Devin Oliver's cleans - a few seconds later you hear a sudden tempo change that leads into the first breakdown of Digital Renegade. Despite the diversity of the panels, the song isn't falling into pieces. Even the following trance beat and the poppy chorus fit. In the end, the final breakdown and the fake orchestra blends together in an awesome way.
To be honest I don't want to "track by track" this album, I only reviewed "Gnars Attacks" because it perfectly sums up why I See Stars (post-2011) is so great... Interesting, diverse and well structured. Not just the songs themselves, but the album as a whole. Anyway (you might hate me for this) unlike the majority of their fans, I never thought of this band as one of the main contributors of the genre. I think the right way to describe them is "the best of their genre". The main reason why they're so enjoyable is their ability to use the elements Enter Shikari and those infamous Joey Sturgis bands such as the two "AA"s brought into 'core music better than anyone else in the scene.
Now I'm not saying 'Renegade is a flawless album. Even as a fan I can't deny that it has some boring moments... the guitar-work and the electronics aren't always as sophisticated as they are in the opening track (their most complex song so far), NZT48 (dat synthetic break'!) or the ridiculously catchy Filth Friends Unite (my personal favorite). What I'm trying to say is (1), if you're ok with this kind of metalcore, this band is worth your time (2), Even if you hate mainstream 'core music, this band deserves the attention they get and they're not big because of a hit or a hot frontman (even though they have both) but because they're talented.