Review Roundup #3: All’s Quiet, It Came From the Sky, Vlor
Fuck it. This album is FUN. After the ambient calm of “The Division,” “Directionary” hits the listener in the face with its southern-fried hardcore. Picture Maylene and the Sons of Disaster or He Is Legend and you’ve got this, and the rest of the album, pretty well mapped out.
Throw in some melodic bits and some breakdowns and you have a rather winning formula. I usually don’t like stuff like this, but this album’s a charmer. It’s a bit derivative, but were you really looking for something heady here?
If there’s one thing that can be said about the deathcore scene, it’s that it’s become a mess. Many young bands look toward other young bands for inspiration, and all the excitement in the once prospering (now floundering) genre is, for the most part, gone. You know how the story goes: Worship at the gates for a few measures, trigger the drums to inhuman speeds, slow everything down and throw in a breakdown. Throw in a movie sample or two and borrow some misogynistic lyrics from slam metal and you have a recipe that’ll have white kids everywhere thinking they’re black. But every so often, there’s a band or two that stir things up. It Came From the Sky are a group of youngins from Toronto, Ontario who are still unsigned and relatively unknown. They play what this reviewer could call “tasteful deathcore.” You might ask what, exactly, tasteful deathcore is. To begin, it’s obvious that these dudes have chops. Guitars etch out Periphery-styled grooves and traditional djents (the sound of a compressed palm-muted chord), while the bass shines through the crystalline mix (and it’s apparent he’s actually playing some sick stuff, it’s not just the traditional bass bombs). Both vocals and lyrics borrow more than a thing or two from death metal (read through the lyrics and witness a landscape of battles and betrayal, not a graveyard of murdered girlfriend clichés).
I don’t have much space to write about them here, but this album shows promise. In a year or two you may just hear It Came From the Sky on Fuse. Highly recommended.
Vlor is a compilation of instrumentals sent around via snail mail to other musicians in the attempt to create a “chain-mail” approach to music. It’s interesting. Tracks drift in and out, neither ending too soon or wearing out their welcome. Six-Winged has an ethereal quality, and its minimalism and experimentation meet to create a hybrid between post-rock and symphonics to create something genuine. The experiment is successful in its attempt to meld ambience, shoegaze, and soft electronics, but the record never really picks up. The work here is promising, but one might feel better inclined to pick up something less self-involved. Keep an eye out for them though, there are some great moments on this record.