Texas In July

Posted in Under Review with tags , , , , on April 19, 2010 by tagonizer
Texas In July

Texas In July

This young-blood metalcore band based in Pennsylvania immediately calls to mind the likes of August Burns Red, and a lot of people would dismiss them immediately after realizing their similar histories. Both signed to local CI Records, both have Christian influence, and both have guitar and drums that lead the pack in the technical/melodic end of the spectrum. But I’d like to point out that this band is nowhere near a carbon copy of Solid State allstars August Burns Red.

Like ABR, TIJ is a very young band; some members are still in high school as their myspace dictates. But their writing has a flare that excites me for their future. Listening to their EP “Salt Of The Earth” you hear a degree of technicality and songwriting that is far ahead of their peers. Not just another TDWP cover band, these guys are true musicians and can put together a song and not have it sound like every other.

Another thing I applaud them for is how much BETTER their early stuff compares to many other metalcore outfits. It may just be recording quality, or I may be biased towards this end of the genre, but this is quality I expect from bigger name bands and not some unknown 5 piece from the east coast. Perhaps the best example of this from their EP is the song “Reflections” which exemplifies both the drummer and guitarists skill. Blast beats¬†intermingle with¬†fills and one-two beats show a versatility in drumming that stands out, but also highlights the melodic end with the guitar. Also, the solo on this track is SUPERB. It’s melodic, catchy, and just plain sexy to my ears. The rhythm behind it is perfect, and the screams tear your face off.

Moving on to their full length release, you will hear their single “Hook Line and Sinner” again along with “Reflections.” But the only real difference in them is production quality, and the screams have matured. I hold to the theory that screamers lose their edge as they pop out releases.

But I digress.

“I Am,” which came out summer 2009, just a year after “Salt of the Earth,” is a great example of what metalcore SHOULD sound like. Not repetitious, not recycled, not TOO predictable: catchy but surprising. More solos pop up, like in “It’s Not My First Rodeo,” and breakdowns out the wazoo. An excellent example of the song structure that TIJ use can be seen in “Elements.” There are no less than 3 breakdowns, a delightful melody, accompanied with a great rhythm section. Not to mention the solo and group shout trope preceding a delightful end-song breakdown.

But not every song is a metalcore majesty off this CD. The intro track is the run of the mill effects, leading to a whispered “I Am,” right before “It’s Not My First Rodeo.” Also, the track “I Am Yours” is a really sweet acoustic piece. You can really see the talent in their guitarists. Also I think I hear a violin/viola? Frick. It’s beautiful/ I’m sorry.

Which that beautiful track leads straight a crazy breakdown then some riffage and Alex’s intense vocals a la “Aurora.” I think I should take the time to say that Alex, the vocalist, and Adam, the drummer, are both still in high school. Blows my mind.

Overall, I’d have to say that this band is worth taking a listen to. They’re not breaking new ground, but they are establishing that they have a lot to bring to the table. I’m excited to see where they go.

Give em a listen.


Veil Of Maya – [id]

Posted in Under Review with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by tagonizer

I seriously cannot stop listening to this album.

Veil Of Maya - [id]

Album art

I guess it’s not a huge leap from Common Man’s Collapse, but I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy it. Marc Okubo’s guitar riffage is at it’s peak, with the usual use of chords and odd time signatures; Sam Applebaum’s drums sound equally jazzy and brutal, each cymbal ringing clearly in my ears; Brandon Butler’s vocals have only matured and improved since their last release, but it’s that tried and true Veil of Maya sound that we all know and love.

If there were a standard (in my eyes) for overall musicianship, this would be it.

Just as in their past two releases, there are a few instrumental breakdowny tracks. But, these are not your little sisters breakdowns; these are mind boggling syncopated breakdowns that just make me smile in awe. Check out “[id],” “Martyrs,” and “Circle” if you have an insatiable appetite for highly distorted dissonant guitarwork over a sick rhythm. To be perfectly clear, “Martyrs” is my favorite of these bunch, I’m not sure what it is about it, but it makes me just want to leap into a pit and ruin someone’s night. Also, is it just me, or did VoM have a field day with effects? Check out “Circles” and you’ll hear a weird techno sounding fadeout and a sound clip that sounds like a mass of flies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it; it adds a good depth.

As for their other tracks, a few of the standouts in my eyes are “Unbreakable,” “The Higler,” and “Namaste.” “Namaste” was the first track they released, a pre-production popping up on MetalSucks.net back in February. It got mixed feedback on their site, but it wasn’t even mixed or mastered! On the CD it sounds much better, and overall it’s a very jazzy track for them. “Unbreakable” is the first song-song after their standard instrumental opener “[id],” and they chose a GREAT song for that role. It’s got the whole spectrum of Maya standards: Fast unpredictable breakdowns, amazing riffs, and a vocal range that you can’t shake a stick at. Production has done this song well: Just listen up at 1:49 into the song.

Also, this just struck me, but they have oddly positive lyrics for a progressive deathcore band: “Now is the time to believe in yourself / Have no fear how others think of you or will judge you / Because your greatness will silence them all”

Since this my first “review” on this blog, I’m not sure if I should rate it, or just tell you go buy this album.

…Just go buy the album. 5 stars.