Review Summary: The best nu-metal release in 15 years.
Ohio-based band My Ticket Home have had a rough go of it. From their crude, by-numbers metalcore debut, to their forgettable hardcore sophomore effort, the band has been flailing in any direction to gain traction, morphing their identity to try to catch a wave and failing at it considerably. But with the nostalgic nu-metal bent that modern metal has taken recently, that wave has finally arrived for My Ticket Home, giving them the chance to revamp and consolidate their sound into something formidable.
The band has taken the heaviness down several notches, eschewing their metalcore trappings in favour of a smoother alt-rock/post-grunge sound and augmenting it with shades of old-school nu-metal instead of breakdowns and triplet riffs. This major pivot in direction works surprisingly in their favour, and thankfully they’ve drawn their influence from the sub-genre's best; Nick Giumenti’s crooning vocals are clearly aping Deftones, while his gritty melodic singing style and screams are very reminiscent of Chester Bennington in the best ways possible, like on album highlight Melancholia which shuffles through subdued and downtrodden verses before explosively spiking the chorus with massive driving guitars.
The production on this album is flawless. Everything sounds extremely crisp, and it's really highlighted on the moodier, more open tracks like Hyperreal and Cellophane which have layers of vocals panning and bouncing into each other with fuzz and tremolo while huge waves of reverby guitars wash over top of them. In these denser moments, every instrument is discernible without becoming a messy wall of noise. Other highlights include the ferocious and overtly nu-metal Flypaper which rocks a heavy KoRn style riff with aplomb, and Time Kills Everything which is practically shoe-gaze, as well as Visual Snow which closes the album out in ambient and cinematic fashion.
I just can’t believe how quickly and seamlessly My Ticket Home have found and honed their new identity. I can’t stress enough how hollow their previous output has rung, yet UnReal finds the band pulling a 180; tight, confident, and with no sign of fat or excess. It’s really a case of night-and-day, and an uncanny breakthrough for a band that I had completely dismissed.