Review Summary: Beautiful Discord
I’ve been with State Faults since day one. And I’m not trying to flex or humblebrag, I just want to illustrate my connection with the band. State Faults used to be called Brother Bear. They put out a dreamy and ethereal EP called Head in The Clouds.
Then they changed their name to State Faults and put out two exceptional post-hardcore records. And then they took a break, and I never expected them to put out another record. I was content with their body of work, screamo bands tend to be short-lived and I viewed those two records and EP as a blessing. State Faults were one of my favorite bands. And until Clairvoyant,
I and others used to have to bug people to "please check out this band and take my word for it that they’re great." I'd tell people "Hey, the music is really tight, it’s harsh but weirdly soothing at the same time, and the singer’s voice is unreal!" This plea was usually effective - you can gander at the averages for State Faults’ previous work on this very site to see the proof - but it always took some nudging and convincing. Presently State Faults has proved it’s great. I don’t have to bug anymore, this album is blowing up on its own, and that’s a testament to just how fantastic it is. 6/20/19 is day one of a new era for State Faults - an era of soaking up new fans like a sponge. After years of toiling in the underground, two records, a break, touring, and sleeping on floors State Faults have broken through, all on the strength of this record. I’ve been here since day one, but right now is the best time to be a State Faults' fan.
State Faults are a band at the top of their game. This is none the more present than on the drum kit. State Faults play fast, they play hard, and they have a lot of beat changes. An average drummer would sink a record like Clairvoyant,
but State Faults’ drummer Jared Wallace destroys the kit, constantly switching through complex beats and gliding between blasts and fills with the grace of a butterfly. Even more impressive is that State Faults are somehow doing more with less, as they're down to a three-piece. The one-man guitar show Johnny Calvert-Andrew flexes his muscles - every chord crashes like a wave, every riff is expertly paced, and there are tons of little details that are only appreciated over multiple listens. Like the dual guitars in the opening of "Dreamcatcher Pt. 2," both guitars are playing the same part, but there are points where the strumming pattern is altered for one of the guitars, and it creates this subtle sense of harmony even though the notes are the same. Jonny doubles as the band’s vocalist and his screams are bone chilling. For years I’ve wondered how he manages to scream so high. He does this incredible thing where the tail end of a scream will modulate up or down and it adds an extra layer to the melody of the track. The meat of State Faults’ music is the constant presence of melody. "Moon Sign Gemini" is heavy as ***, "Clairvoyant" is doom-esque, "Funeral Teeth" is chaotic, but every single track has a strong melody as a backbone. Only expert level songwriters could pack a 50-second punch-in the-face like "Moon Sign Gemini" with multiple memorable hooks. Even the more dark, haunting stuff like the title track is catchy - this combination can only be described as beautiful discord.
is one of those rare albums that transcends genre. I hesitate to even call it screamo, or post-hardcore or even rock because in doing so I would be placing it into a box in which it does not fit. Something so heavy yet so beautiful should cater to any music fan as long as they can stomach harsh vocals. The songwriting is so pure - existing only to evoke emotion and channel passion - that any genre trapping one might pick up on is incidental. Clairvoyant
is thunder and lightning, it’s felt before it’s understood, it’s a force of nature that burrows into the skull and makes you all the better for it. State Faults isn't merely one of the best hardcore bands in North America, they’re one of the best bands in the world, period. And Clairvoyant
is their masterpiece - every note rings true, every chord is exactly where it needs to be, it’s passion, talent, and hard work distilled into a 36-minute record that can only be understood through experiencing it. For an album to truly be a masterpiece it has to be unique to the artist creating it, and Clairvoyant
fits that to a tee, it’s the product of everything the band has done and been through and it’s made at 100% efficiency. It’s daring and exhilarating, and crushing and cathartic, and a whole horde of other adjectives that can’t do it justice. Clairvoyant
is pure State Faults from Head in The Clouds
and it encapsulates everything the band has to say. I wrote before that Clairvoyant
has to be heard to be understood, that was an understatement, it’s not until one hears the catharsis achieved at the end of the record circle back into the opener on a subsequent listen when everything clicks and makes sense, and the listener and the record become one. When it’s felt inside your bones, that’s when it hits like a ton of bricks.