BATS
Alter Nature


3.0
good

Review

by Dean M. USER (30 Reviews)
October 21st, 2019 | 38 replies


Release Date: 10/10/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Alter BATS

Like a lot of math rock, BATS' math-inspired post-hardcore has always been a bit precarious. With as many moving parts as the average BATS track has had, they've needed to keep a tight grasp on melody, harmony, and chord progressions to make sure all the parts cohered into a satisfying song with just the right mood. Their 2009 debut Red in Tooth and Claw was remarkable, in part, for how often they struck the perfect balance for a truly captivating experience ("Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date," "The Cruel Sea," the first half of "Andrew Wiles"), but the album also contained a couple moments ("Lord Blakeney's Arm," the second half of "Andrew Wiles") where the balance fell apart, resulting in enjoyable enough music that nonetheless felt too off-kilter. Their sophomore effort, The Sleep of Reason, showed much more consistency in the balance of their sound, but it was never quite as transcendent as a song like "Gamma Ray Burst," and I found myself wondering if they could showcase the true potential of their sound without succumbing to its pitfalls.

In the seven years since The Sleep of Reason, BATS must have somehow forgotten everything they knew about crafting complex compositions with engaging progressions, because Alter Nature is almost entirely pitfalls. Rather than interweaving to build sublime harmonies, the guitars on Alter Nature mostly play in the realm of the dissonant, but seem bizarrely reluctant to do so. Tracks like "Christian Science" and "The Call of Cthulhu" are built almost like noise rock songs, as though composed for Sisterworld or You Won't Get What You Want. But BATS don't have the same commitment to the noise that Liars and Daughters do, making the dissonance feel less like a deliberate change of direction and more like a failure to do what BATS do best. "Christian Science" may be built like noise rock, but it doesn't sound like noise rock; it sounds like some guitar notes strung together into riffs, without any particular
desired mood or raison d'etre.

Still, there are some enjoyable moments on Alter Nature, and unsurprisingly, they're the moments that sound the most like old BATS. "In the Court of the CRISPR King" centers around an elegantly melodic interplay of vocals that lifts the song as a whole. "Dyson Sphere" offers a tantalizing glimpse of what BATS could have sounded like if they had made a natural progression from The Sleep of Reason, with a trademark duel between melodic and harsh vocals, guitars that switch between post-hardcore aggression and post-rock ethereality, and a captivatingly chaotic saxophone solo at the song's climax. But these moments are rare. The vast majority of Alter Nature is a disappointing realization that BATS' talent and ingenuity have backslid since The Sleep of Reason, and they have much further to go if they want to reach the heights of "Gamma Ray Burst" again.



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user ratings (60)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
WatchItExplode
October 21st 2019


8345 Comments


I really like summon the demon for some reason.

Digging: Slothrust - The Pact

calmrose
October 21st 2019


5669 Comments


Summoning the Demon is awesome, as is the album

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 21st 2019


62680 Comments


thats a fucking sick helmet, i could definitely see some of the users around here being prescribed one of those badboys

Digging: Godfather Don - Beats, Bangers and Biscuits...

Slex
October 21st 2019


10654 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lmao Pots



Album is a huge disappointment yeah, mostly just atonal nonsense

Digging: ManDancing - The Good Sweat

kris.
October 21st 2019


15505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i still can't decide if i wanna 3.5 or 4 this. there are some really great tracks but it does feel like their weakest effort.

McTime50
October 21st 2019


1020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lemme decide for u



3.5

Digging: Seahaven - Halo of Hurt

Detective Dan
October 21st 2019


238 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is fantastic y'all out of your minds.

Slex
October 21st 2019


10654 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Grating and amateurish compared to their previous albums for me

GreyShadow
October 21st 2019


4334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is a 3.5 probably. while it lacks the huge highlights, I think it's their most consistently engaging. i dig it

Digging: Kill Your Ex - From Words to Motion

fromrows
October 22nd 2019


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"This album is fantastic y'all out of your minds." I agree, probably their best so far!

kris.
October 22nd 2019


15505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hmm absolutely not but it's really good

they'll never top red in tooth & claw

Slex
October 22nd 2019


10654 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sleep>>

kris.
October 22nd 2019


15505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hmm ok but no

fromrows
October 22nd 2019


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"hmm absolutely not but it's really good



they'll never top red in tooth & claw" They did in imo.

DirEnRefused
October 22nd 2019


3655 Comments


red in tooth and claw is so much better than sleep of reason

Slex
October 22nd 2019


10654 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Opinions! I think the opposite

Willie
Moderator
October 22nd 2019


18869 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I'm a little surprised by this review. "Christian Science" in particular is fucking awesome. I get a huge post-Nothingface Voivod vibe from this album. Like if they had still gone in an alternative rock route, but not so conventional and commercial.

Digging: Violet Cold - Noir Kid

WatchItExplode
October 23rd 2019


8345 Comments


Opinions are obviously divided but I added this album to my collection last week...will it still be there next? Yeah, probably. This is chaotic but atonal nonsense it is not.

TheSupernatural
October 23rd 2019


2145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really liked what I heard of the first half. Guess I'll have to check their earlier albums if they're even better.

WatchItExplode
October 23rd 2019


8345 Comments


Yeah it might be time I finally checked out red of tooth and claw



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