Review Summary: An unfortunate lack of emotion and variety prevent NYVES' debut album from being as good as it should've been.
The electronic genre never really made much impact in the Christian music industry as few projects have made waves since its inception in the early '90s. However, it might be making a slight comeback now with Demon Hunter’s Ryan Clark and ex-Project 86 member Randy Torres’ new project, NYVES. It may not come as a surprise considering that Demon Hunter’s last album, Extremist
, delivered a more unique experience compared to the band’s earlier material, so it’s most likely that Clark would be more than willing to try out a different musical experience. Hence NYVES was created, and at first it seems as though the potential was there.
is certainly a more unique record than most would think. Despite the fact that Ryan Clark is the vocalist for a heavy metal band, and Randy Torres was of a similar outfit, Anxiety
is more of a calmer, moody album rather than aggressive. ‘Return’ sets up that mood as the opener, and it works decently as the atmospheric sound along with its slow pace create that calming presence. However, while delivering the aggressive approach would’ve most likely made the album more predictable, the calmer sound ends up being Anxiety’s
downfall as the album goes on. The first half of the album feels monotonous, as the songs slip in one ear and out the other due to often-lazy production. One example is ‘Something Divine’ as there isn’t enough energy and emotion to keep the listeners interested.
Another main problem within the first half is Clark’s vocals. Now by all means, he does a decent job as his voice flows through the music well, but the emotional aspect throughout the first half of Anxiety
is devoid of interest due to his lack of variety. It feels as though he’s holding back, as if there’s something that is preventing him from delivering what could’ve been an excellent performance. ‘Smoking Gun’ and ‘Just Give Up’ suffer from this especially as both songs are supposedly the more upbeat pieces, but Clark delivers a rather uncanny and lackluster performance. Even though the idea of this record is a more moody and relaxed sound, it feels as though Ryan is too comfortable, or that he doesn’t want to perform at all. It’s unfortunate as his talent as a vocalist is wasted.
However, it’s during the second half of the record when everything finally comes into place. ‘Fool’ manages to deliver a powerful and beautiful sound with the piano ballad soaring through the song’s melodic grace while Ryan finally manages to deliver an emotional performance, and it works incredibly well. ‘The Exit’, ‘Fall Behind’ and ‘Idle Thoughts’ are also some of the best moments on the album as the beats are energetic and the choruses are well-executed. The aggressive tone in ‘Idle Thoughts’ is catchy and incredibly memorable while Clark delivers arguably his best performance in the album. ‘Parasites’ is also a slight change in tone with a more poppy structure rather than a darker tone compared to the rest of the album. It’s a nice change of pace considering the first half of the album seems to meander through the production and lack of emotion.
delivers is potential, and while much of that potential seems to result in disappointment, there’s still something to be found here. Sure there are quite a few bland moments, but the energy and the emotion in the second half of the album really get going and prevent the album from being a waste of time. For those wanting a more unique album compared to recent releases this year, this isn’t a bad album to listen to. Let’s just hope that whatever Clark and Torres have in store for the future, they’ll fix up their mistakes and create something even better.