Review Summary: Currents further establish themselves with their 2nd LP as they try to distance themselves from their contemporaries
The sophomore album is a litmus test for all bands, and nothing is different for upcomers in the metalcore scene Connecticut’s Currents. The success of their outstanding debut record ‘The Place I Feel Safest’ put the 5-piece on the metalcore map. They further established themselves with 2018 EP ‘I Let The Devil In’ that expanded their repertoire of intricate guitar work and interesting vocal delivery and that now leads in perfectly to their 2nd LP.
The quintet consists of impressive vocalist Brian Wille, guitarists Chris Wiseman and Ryan Castaldi, bassist Christian Pulgarin and drummer Matt Young. The album kicks off with ‘Never There’ that gets the album off to a good start with Wille showing off his harsh vocals that immediately come to the forefront of the band's sound. This then leads into lead single ‘A Flag To Wave’ which is one of the strongest songs on the record and a perfect encapsulation of what the band is striving to achieve as Wille effortlessly switches back and forth between his solid screaming voice and his excellent clean vocals. It also contains the catchiest chorus on the album:
‘’I long for something that l can represent, a flag to wave, to find my foundation’’
This for me is one of the best choruses l have heard in a metalcore song this year. It will be sure to get stuck in your head.
Other singles ‘Poverty of Self’ and ‘Monsters’ follow with the former being the heaviest song on the record and one which gives vocalist Wille the chance to show off his low screams and a deathcore-like pig squeal during its breakdown. ‘Poverty of Self’ would be the song established fans of the band would identify with most and is a song which is reminiscent of ones on their debut. ‘Monsters’ much like ‘A Flag To Wave’ has a great clean chorus along with solid guitar work.
A focal point for any metalcore band is guitar and as aforementioned, guitarists Chris Wiseman and Ryan Castaldi are very efficient throughout the record in giving the listener everything you’d expect from a metalcore record but with a larger emphasis on technical and intricate playing. Examples of this are found throughout but my favourite guitar parts of the record can be found on ‘Origin’ where Wiseman and Castaldi combine well to contribute to the verses and the inevitable breakdown and also, the solo in ‘How I Fall Apart’ is dropped in at just the right time. ‘Origin’ also has good guitar work but an interest part of the song is the experimentation with a synth in the background that contributes positively to the atmosphere of the song. Closer ‘Better Days’ follows a similar formula but is an effective end to the album combining the entire sound of the album and wrapping it up in a nice bow.
Young on drums and Pulgarin on bass are also important members, but as with other metalcore albums, the bass can be lost in the mix. Young is a highly competent drummer who does well to support the band and he has his moments to shine on slower songs like ‘Origin’ and ‘How I Fall Apart’.
Lyrical content on a metalcore album is something that a lot of folks don’t usually care much about as long as they are not overly cringe or offensive but there are definitely some interesting and thoughtful lyrics contained within the album as vocalist Brian Wille speaks on topics like reckoning, salvation, faith and self- loathing.
‘Origin’ is a good example of these topics being discussed:
‘’I can’t give myself to you further for everything is so meaningless to me…I can’t be your Shepard if I’m lost’’
‘Poverty of Self’ has a lyrical passage that very much relates to the world as it currently stands:
‘’The guilty prosper, consumed by greed. A vicious cycle stuck on repeat. The innocent striped of humanity’’
Criticism of this record is bound to occur and it is certainly understandable as many songs have the typical metalcore structure of screamed verses, clean choruses, and a breakdown to finish things off. While some may not like this, it is something that the band does pretty well due to the above average guitar work and the talent of the man behind the microphone Wille. Those same critics may also find that the album can be guilty of being generic because of the previously mentioned structural similarities but for established fans of the genre, there is enough interesting passages contained in here to keep the listener intrigued.
With their 2nd LP, Currents have crafted a perfectly solid metalcore record that has accomplished its goal to stand out from the rest of the pack and the future certainly looks bright for this promising young band.