Review Summary: One short year after the debut EP Laying Siege To My Own Home, Remeo is back to deliver a full-length album to be remembered for.
Remeo is the name chosen by Marcelo Melo for his solo project. His first showcase arrived back in 2014, with the release of the mammoth EP Laying Siege To My Own Home
. One year had hardly gone by and Marcelo already had news of a new release, a full-length album that would be dropping throughout December. Gravity Bursts
clocks at a generous 54 minutes and is the product of one full year of hard work.
My first listen of Gravity Bursts
felt both interesting and perplexing. Where LStMOH
was relatively easy to catalog, GB
feels capable of challenging any pre-built conceptions. The album starts off with a strong Metalcore oriented section that lengthens up to the fourth track. “I: Showtime” displays amazing guitar work, and a bit towards the end, even the bass is already given some space to shine. “IV: Cluster Pit” is the most dissonant, technically elaborated and peculiar track of said sequence, assaulting the senses with an insane range of styles in its approach, without ever compromising the overall structure of the song. Then there’s “II: Drowning Shell”, easily one of my favorite songs in Gravity Bursts
. While sparing no quality on the riffs, with this song Remeo manages to pull one of the most wistful moments of the album. All of this inevitably leads me to another one of the many strengths Remeo displays: the clean sung choruses (hooks, for short). “Drowning Shell” has possibly the best (and most beautiful) hook in this section, but the other songs don’t fall short on quality hooks either. I swear I could go with an album full of songs like these, but in this case Remeo had a much wider vision for his first long length creation.
Just ahead of a great opening section comes the slower and, perhaps, most polarizing phase of the album. At this stage, what was seemingly a relatively candid Metalcore album, branches out to clench a new perspective from the listener. Thankfully, Remeo isn’t one to let go of a solid act just to randomly explore something new in his sound. “VI: Soulfinder” sees Remeo push the envelope towards a more radio ready
Post-Rock/Soul sound, while still remaining unpredictable and defying as ever. This track is truly the most polarizing piece in GB
, to me. The voice progression in this song sounds a bit odd at times and the drums are brought above the mix just enough to notice some lesser work on the hi-hats, but it works. The effects at the beginning set up a soothing mood, the bass cues in beautifully and there’s a constant feeling that everything is in its perfectly selected place, that nothing is there just for the sake of it. By about halfway, you’d think you would’ve seen everything Remeo has to offer, but some of the best moments come within the sequence initiated by “VIII: Pangaea’s Song”, a sedative kiss in the form of sound that keeps taking me back to my childhood days playing Final Fantasy
games. Yes, you’ve just read that.
And then it happens. You’ll have to hear it for yourself and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will say that “IX: Unheeding Explorer” is the instant classic that puts some of Sikth’s wackiest jams to shame. I still can’t get over the amount of genius put into this track, let alone the fact that somehow, Remeo makes this track fit in seamlessly with the rest of the album. By this point you may also come to understand that it would be a good idea to grab a peek at the lyrics for Gravity Bursts
and give yourself the pleasure to sink within the narrative Marcelo directs throughout the album.
Past “X: Golden Halo”, one of the heaviest song in the album, comes another one of my 3 definite favorite moments in the album. “XI: Timeburner” is by far the most heart wrenching song in GB
. Here Marcelo steps up to deliver the best clean vocals in the entire album, crossing mournful spoken/sung verses with great harmonizing and some wonderful guitar licks. Lyrically, it’s also one of the songs that feels more conclusive, acting like a window to some of the deepest feelings expressed throughout the entire album. This song feels deeply personal and rooted on greater feelings, good or bad, perhaps both. Bittersweet seems like a good word to describe what it passes on to me. Coming last, “XII: Showdown” is specially straightforward and catchy. Some of the most effective influences of Remeo seem to come up quite a lot here. Names like Converge, The Fall of Troy and Protest The Hero come to mind, and not just for his performance on this song. The song ends the album with the final sweet natured string section, the kind that Remeo delivers beautifully throughout the album.
Some albums aren’t meant to be understood immediately. Some aren’t pretty, agreeable at first. Gravity Bursts
insists in being rough around the edges, and it may defy you to like its minor unbalances. That’s what gives GB
its own distinct punk
character, as I soon came to understand. That being said, it still feels like Gravity Bursts
falls only slightly behind its predecessor on 2 aspects: one is the drums. This time around, while the guitars gained a whole new dimension in the hands of Marcelo, and the bass became an even stronger presence in Remeo’s music, the drums seem to have lost some punch and character. In all case, they don’t feel like a prevalent part of GB
and this aspect is only slightly noticeable at most times. The other aspect is largely relative and can be quite ambiguous – it’s how the clean vocals take the foreground in the mix of even some of the most riff rich parts. My perception varied depending on where I was listening to the album, but I remember struggling just slightly at keeping track of the guitars a handful of times. This hindrance eventually wore out and soon into listening to GB
, it seized to be a nuisance at all. Like I said, distinct character. Production-wise, Marcelo still nailed it once again, from within the comfort of his room.
There was no possible way to expect Gravity Bursts
. Where Laying Siege to My Own Home
was a short yet powerful and objective sentence, Gravity Bursts
is an uncut statement in form of prose poetry. GB
is solid and peaks constantly, offering something for everyone much regardless of taste. Marcelo Melo is an unique individual with a plethora of unique ideas, and a genius. Unlike what his lyrics say, he is in fact new, not just out of the blue, which also means he still has an enormous amount of potential to realize. With that in mind, genius
is a title he’s likely to expand upon in the future.