Review Summary: It's nothing you haven't heard before, but Mad Season was a really fun experience.
I am going to admit that Obey the Brave is not the most original band in the entire world. They definitely stick to the slogan, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But damn, I absolutely adore what this band has done on Mad Season. The band sticks to a basic metalcore formula with hints of hardcore, but there is way more experimentation than there was on their previous two albums. Plenty of good fun clean vocals provided throughout the experience. Some of the additions on this record are ways to make this band more accessible to a casual audience that would like a crash course on melodic hardcore. All the hints of aggression that this band has been known for up until this point are also included, so if you want the best of both worlds for an Obey the Brave record. Mad Season will give you that treat.
The harsh chugging guitars blister throughout the experience. It keeps all of the music flowing really well as some songs show off some great melodic passages like in "Drama", "On Thin Ice" and "Way it Goes". Granted, you've probably heard all of these chugs or patterns before if you listened to groups like The Amity Affliction, For the Fallen Dreams, Stick to Your Guns, Counterparts and The Ghost Inside. But Obey the Brave continues to hit as hard as possible to drive listeners with their music. Lots of catchy guitar licks, really slick heavy breakdowns and the great melodic passages really drive this album forward. The production is also super crisp and hard hitting. Every instrument makes their mark and it does all it can to drive the listener into a frantic experience of accessible but hard hitting metalcore.
The main star throughout the listening experience is vocalist Alex Erian, who you probably know best for being part of the veteran deathcore group Despised Icon. Alex does his trademark midrange growl throughout plenty of the songs, mostly sticking to what he did in Despised Icon. But what I really liked is the experimentation to add more clean vocals. Granted there were some cleans on previous records like Salvation. But on Mad Season, there is a greater focus on the clean verses. To many fans of extreme metal, this is usually considered a massive detriment and it probably would ruin the experience for them. But, I honestly believe Alex added in some fantastic melodies to sing in throughout this album. It honestly doesn't sound out of place and keeps the listener like me very interested. I also love the small Hip Hop influence that is thrown in as you can hear some rap verses thrown in throughout. Very clever additions as I really this ideal of experimentation with Obey the Brave's music.
Obey the Brave took some small chances with Mad Season to make a record that would be great for newcomers to the band. This band is not the next big step that metalcore needs to evolve, but I can say for sure that this group does not let up with their music at all. It drives you in for a great experience and has plenty of catchy hooks to keep you coming back for way more by the time you're done.
Favorite Tracks: Way it Goes, Drama, On Thin Ice, On Our Own & Les Temps Sont Durs.