Written by Carcassbomb
- Progressive metalcore
- March 13, 2020
This article has undergone edits for clarity sake. I don’t hate all progressive metalcore (BTBAM exists), I just can’t stand the current state of it and here’s why…
I hate this kind of album that aims for commercial viability without contributing anything new, so put on your helmet, I’m not holding back any punches. Nothing personal to the people, I don’t know them from a bar of soap, I just listen to music suggested to me. The top results for their name in google is “Blueshift – Customer Data Platform & Multi-Channel Activation”. Tough one to beat, definitely google your name prior to naming yourself, I wouldn’t bother going against a corporation’s SEO power.
Yeah it’s pretty. It’ll get a point for that. Basically it starts at a score of 0 and each time I find a positive thing to say it’ll get a point. Good artwork…(1).
I’ve always had a grudge against progressive metalcore and consider it the shittiest genre of all those offshoots despite being a fan of progressive music and metalcore. This has a lot to do with it being my country’s largest alternative export and the fact that since Between The Buried And Me it’s become a shitshow of a popularity contest. Combining the two elements should be something special but everytime I hear it I just hear a load of ass, hold the cheeks. I’ve tried Polaris and Northlane and all that, I tried to give it another go with this one. I was HOPING for an album that would convince me of something.
Vocally it’s so safe that I swear I’m not even hearing vocals, I’m just hearing a studio app replicate vocals based on popular songs. It completely lacks sincerity or has lost it in the production. The cleans are not interesting and the uncleans lack a punch. It’s those Bring Me The Horizon vocals and mostly the current commercially viable ones…
Progressive metalcore according to the albums I’ve heard is basically failed post hardcore. It has all the same shit but adds djent and bland chord progressions. Voyager is an obvious attempt at replicating a very mainstream style.
Alright let’s get back to it, I had to go and listen to good music for a while to calm down. “I feel you… creeping through my mind” is the level of lyrics we’re dealing with, vaguely emotional notions that teens can easily grasp. “U AN I, WERE NEVA MENT TO B” is another real lyric. This is the most predictable music I have ever heard. The guitars aren’t bad on a technical level (2) but I don’t like the choice in tones a lot of the time. I don’t like the idea of djent with progressions passing for progressive metalcore, there are so many good parts of progressive music and metalcore that could be combined with enough imagination, something not motivated by success. I will say that the drummer in particular is decent (3) and a good drummer can carry a lot.
“THE EMPTINESS I FEEL” SOMETHING SOMETHING “…COLD”. Fuck off. This is the happy meal of prog music, it’s a bastard and a heretic but not in the sexy way I’d normally use those words, I mean in the historical sense. Even the poppier stuff like Enter Shikari, Sky Eats Airplane, A Lot Like Birds and Circa Survive have interesting moments worthy of existence. This album doesn’t seem to give any credence to the history of either genre it represents and iand doesn’t contribute anything new to the state of the progressive metalcore scene. I’ll be happy when a band breaks the mould and creates something interesting with it, I’ll be there for it.
The uncleans aren’t that different from some bands I like but they’re missing a key element that these sort of bands often utilise with the dual vocal stuff. Blueshift doesn’t sound like their vocals are organic and living. There’s ideally different pitches, accents, emphasis and all sorts of variation on tone – not here. It sounds the same every time on every track. I don’t FEEL them, I’m just listening.
I’ll give it a half point because towards the end there were moments where the vocalists shut up for more than 20 seconds and during these parts were more interesting licks (3.5). For an album that appears to be themed around the cosmos, it sure fails to evoke that in any way. It’s just a platform for these vocalists to say super self indulgent and unimaginative metaphors. It’s like the diary of someone who you have no interest in, it just doesn’t matter. Who cares what Kyle thinks and feels. I don’t even know anyone called Kyle. Consider the lyrics of La Dispute or Dillinger or Horse The Band which are always impactful and interesting, the words present a sense of the vocalist’s character, thus becoming someone to care about. It’s how you engage the listener with your story.
Just listen for yourself. The only way to improve this is if it were one of those anime music videos. If you think I’m wrong then present more than “Why would you review a genre you don’t like”.
Couldn’t disagree more. If you don’t like progressive Metalcore why even listen? That’s like me trying to review a black medal album.
Well I don’t know who you are to assess whether or not you should review black metal. Myself however who posts publicly, I really like progressive music and metalcore. Why wouldn’t it be on my radar? If blackened metalcore became a trend you bet I’d review that too. It’s ok to disagree and it’s ok for me to post something you don’t like. You don’t have to be anonymous here.
Some of these critiques are valid. The guitar tone blows (I can tell it’s a fucking Kemper). The lyrics are vanilla, cheesy, and safe as hell. It really does seem like the “cosmic” imagery was slapped on with no thoughtfulness. Did I say the lyrics are boring and cheesy as hell?
But all things said, this album does a lot that I’ve not heard in modern progcore (which I listen to a lot of). For example, I could describe most of it as “cinematic”. Themes are effectively woven throughout the structure of their songs. String arrangements are captivating and escalate tension and emotion. The instrumentalists are fucking talented. This is not easy stuff to play. It may not be shredding your nuts off (except for Cloak and Dagger) but it’s sophisticated. The drummer is a real-life-monster.
These guys aren’t trying to be BTBAM and I don’t think it’s fair to compare them. This is an offshoot of all of that, and I don’t think a commitment to more traditional song structure necessarily means they’re just aiming for commercial success. Maybe they should drop the “progressive” from their branding to prevent this kind of misunderstanding.
I heard them say in an interview that they’re all full-time career guys in other fields. The bassist said he works for NASA for Chrissakes. I don’t think they give a shit about finances or commercial viability.
You had a lot of good things to say, but I strongly disagree with quite a few points.