Review Summary: The Generation of Danger is a natural evolution, albeit not without growing pains.
The Generation of Danger is a natural evolution, albeit not without growing pains.
The weak points of Tallah's debut are consciously dealt with. The errant bits of hero worship are sanded off. Matriphagy's default of ending songs with glacial breakdowns is acknowledged, and occasionally playfully addressed in songwriting via caricature ("Shaken (Not Stirred)") or fake-out ("Stomping Grounds"). New augmentations include a more pronounced use of low register tritones in riffs, along with the brilliant texturing courtesy of a dedicated electronics member. Don't forget the established possessed vocals and drumming, and the result is a distilled stylistic core that serves as a foundation to experiment from if desired. The drum and synth interlude in "The Impressionist" is the best moment on the record. The gossamer clean vocal bridge in "Shaken (Not Stirred)" shines a ray of sun at just the right time.
The various alterations end up introducing some snags. The guitars lose a lot of their bite and presence, possibly to make room for the increased electronics presence in the mix. Cranking the album masks this to a degree, but it's a little strange how toothless the guitars are when listened to at a volume where you can comfortably hold a conversation. Tallah also seems aware of the need to be catchy, and at times this overthinking makes it into the music. Some of the trope'y melodic choruses come out of nowhere ("How Long?"), some don't land ("The Impressionist"), some manage to get both aspects wrong ("Dicker's Done"). A number of the riffs feel like they're emulating the established style and hoping to pass as memorable. "Telescope" is the most grating example of this, pasting a bunch of wannabe earworms together to medium success. The faux-rap dropping the album's title in the lyrics feels extremely forced, but the alternate chorus that relieves it in the second half of the song gets it right.
As a result, the album's best tracks are "Of Nothing" and "Wendrid", two mid-tracklist weirdos that largely forego any sort of expectations. Loads of noise, pretty much no structure, a brief brush with a grunge era MTV Unplugged performance. They're the bird's eye view of the album, showing exactly what worked. Calling The Generation of Danger a sophomore slump would be unfair to the band, as while it lacks the debut's effervescence it makes up for it in stylistic development. Given the fact there are no obvious Korn/Linkin Park moments on here, there's a good chance that album number three will shake the occasional wooden feel. Thing is, you probably need to turn your brain off to accomplish that.