Review Summary: The Death We Seek leaves many doors tightly locked while familiar ones are left wide open for those familiar to waltz in and out as they please. Overindulges on consistency and predictability.
It is not often I find myself thinking of the possibilities that can exist within a space from a record, mainly because it is not my job to do so. That lies in the hands of the album’s creators, where it is they that hold the responsibility of thoroughly looking over a project’s details and fine tuning them until they are ready to be released out into the world. Well in theory, that is. The Death We Seek is the latest installment from Fairfield, Connecticut metalcore band, Currents. Their latest project release leaves many doors tightly locked while familiar ones are left wide open for those familiar to waltz in and out as they please, similar to how your local country-kitchen buffet remains open for its loyal patrons. They know they aren’t going to be attracting many new, young and local clientele, but it’s the loyal ones that they rely on. It’s a shame that this is the current path that Currents find themselves on in their latest endeavor.
Currents have been present in the metalcore scene since 2011 and have gone through numerous lineup changes having released various projects through three EPs and three full-length studio albums. Their start was not exactly explosive from the start, but rather a journey that slowly gained traction. Their previous release, The Way it Ends left a great experience that started to put a name to a face for Currents. The hope was that they would continue to improve on their sound in this latest record, however, that may not be the case anymore. The Death We Seek begins with a comparatively familiar sounding title track, “The Death We Seek,” and continues this pattern of familiarity all throughout the rest of the record. There is very little change to the sound that they’ve established since their past records and there are no signs to indicate that they will. Without having to go over all of the songs that sound the same because, spoiler alert, the majority here do, I’d rather describe the issues that present themselves as well as areas of the record that are redeemable, because it’s not all bad.
There is a tonal imbalance present in the mix throughout the majority of the production on the album and there are plenty of moments such as in, “Vengeance,” where the harsh vocals clash frequently with the guitar mix. In “Gone Astray,” the clean sung vocals are buried so awkwardly in the mix next to heavy-distorted guitars, you can barely hear them. The guitar tones used on this record feel like a mirror image from their previous release, showing the inability to learn through experience. Together, it doesn’t sound completely dysfunctional, but there are plenty of moments on this record where there is instrumental peaking in the mix and the songs become a bit more distasteful. The album here is clocked in at only just under 40 minutes but each song plays into the next like a carbon copy. There is almost no barrier of separation besides the consistent four to three second fade outs used at the very end of each song, to which I’m counting six or seven occurrences. The lack of stylistic variety can’t be helped as the genre niche that Currents find themselves in isn’t well known for that, but the songwriting here just comes off as pretty damn standard.
The moments on the record I did enjoy came from the few guitar solos featured in songs, “Unfamiliar” and “Guide Us Home”- something I think was a sensible decision in order to keep these musical moments special. Some luminous highlights exist in “Living in Tragedy,” where Currents execute on a really fierce, gnarly breakdown, hard-hitting and headbanging-inducing guitar riffs paired with solid lyrics and a strong vocal performance by frontman, Brian Wille. They continue to implement their “catchy-chorus” custom in between the chilling sounds of Wille’s harsh vocals, which are an impressive feat captured on this record.
The main issue stemming from this album comes from fatigue. After the fifth song, or literally the first half of the album, you start to feel worn out and not as interested. Without inspiration, something The Death We Seek is clearly lacking, this sort of thing is bound to happen. Currents have amazingly dug themselves out of being labeled as just another modern-metalcore band, but they’re going to need to learn from their past releases rather than repeat them in order to grow into their potential. Despite this, The Death We Seek carries its own weight and still portrays Currents at their best. It overindulges on consistency and predictability, but the sonic aggression in its nature breathes life into the album, forcing it to be heard.