For Fans Of
Solo venture aside, Jonny Craig is back with a new group featuring Hands In Heart guitarist Alex Lyman, among others, and with it, we are presented with debut full length from Slaves, ‘Through Art We Are All Equals.’
The sparse drum and vocal wail openings lead into some blistering post-hardcore laced with Craig‘s signature croon. Stylistically things don’t venture too far from Craig‘s previous sound with Dance Gavin Dance, if anything this music is far more down-the-line, less risks are taken and the vocals provide the drive.
The same tones and vibe are kept throughout the record as Craig attempts some hooky chorus lines that unfortunately aren’t quite memorable enough. Tyler Carter breaks up Craig‘s tone in ‘The Young and Beyond Reckless’ with a breakdown style verse that betters his host.
The album highlight, a title it wins for its opening, ‘The Hearts of Our Young’, features some beautiful vocal work from Natalie Craig and a slightly slower pace while maintaining the bar of heaviness set by its predecessors. There are moments, like the deathly riffs of ‘ASHES.DUST.SMOKE.LOVE.STARS.THE ONE.’ where the band slip into an even heavier territory and excel. The downright gritty guitar tones offset Craig‘s smooth vocals perfectly and the sound is viciously pleasant.
In a record that is essentially the same idea on repeat, it’s moments like these that show promise. Slaves have the talents and ability to become something more than just another paint-by-numbers post-hardcore group if they choose to step out of their comfort zone a little.
The record ends with the single ‘Starving for FRIENDS’, which features a guest appearance from Pierce The Veil’s Vic Fuentes, a slightly low key number driven by percussion and vocals the oddly, but refreshingly, ends the album on a more chilled note.
Slaves are regressing into something more standard than what we have come to expect from Jonny Craig’s full band projects. It is post-hardcore that strives for epic proportions with every minute of its existence, which makes for a solid debut, but a little more diversity will be needed for longevity.
1. The Fire Down Below
2. This Is You Throwing In The Towel
3. The Young and Beyond Reckless
4. My Soul is Empty and Full of White Girls
5. Those Who Stand For Nothing Fall For Everything
6. The Hearts of Our Young
7. There Is Only One God and His Name Is Death
8. The King and The Army That Stands Behind Him
9. ASHES.DUST.SMOKE.LOVE.STARS.THE ONE.
10. The Upgrade PT II
11. Starving for FRIENDS