For Fans Of
If you haven’t heard of ISSUES then you’re in for a surprise. Being on Rise Records, your mind will most likely go into the areas of breakdowns and chuggs and all that other nonsense. But don’t be fooled. Empty musical rhetoric aside, ISSUES are a breath of fresh air.
When the band released their debut EP ‘Black Diamonds‘ it shook the post-hardcore and metalcore scene to its core (pun intended). A big call, but perhaps a justified one. With its influence of neo-soul and electronica into hardcore, it was something that had been attempted but had never been done so well. The band’s debut self-titled release is no exception.
This album is like a double headed monster…and those two heads are constantly fighting for your attention. Clean vocalist Tyler Carter excels and delivers his soulful vocal melodies that will send shivers down your spine. The delivery is absolutely astounding with the sheer amount of passion ISSUES contain. You feel everything Carter feels; you understand what he’s saying like it’s your life story and when this occurs, you know something is going right. There is even an addition of female vocals on one track, thanks to Nylo.
But then there’s the other side of the musical page. The mean arse, teeth gritted beast that’s always shouting and crying out, Michael Bohn screams at the top of his lungs and you feel his angst, his pain and why he’s so viscous. He resonates with intensity and animosity, which is exactly what this kind of genre needs. Bohn has a powerful voice, which is rough and raw yet clear and direct, and easily understood.
But, let’s not get caught up in excessive and indulgent member-by-member analysis. Layered underneath these two voices is an awe-inspiring bed of sound, both heavy, melodic and funky. That’s right. Funky.
With the main focus often being a hardcore direction, the instrumentation is layered and very well produced (kudos to Kris Crummet) and gets the message across clearly. The guitars are either riffing away, chugging at a breakdown or soaring around but it never gets old. The percussion is powerful, sharp and direct. It bangs along and you will feel every second of it on every centimetre of your body. Yet if it weren’t for the influence of synth and electronics they might not be as impressive. DJ Scout does an incredible job mixing his electronics in with the music.
On the surface, ISSUES are an easy band to instantly dismiss. Everything suggests this might be another poster boy band that is a hardcore, whatever-core hybrid. The reality is far different. Put aside generalisations, remove bias and just listen to the album in unaffected form. This debut is as impressive as it is lasting.
This mixture of neo-soul, electronica and hardcore creates one the most unique albums to date. You’ll be hard done by to find an album that sounds anything like this or rather, anything this good. Every song has had so much attention to detail, everything is done perfectly and you can feel the care that has been taken to craft this kind of art. ISSUES are a calming influence in this cluttered post-hardcore genre. Well done, ISSUES for creating a timely record that stands above its competitors and does so with more style than a Prada store.