For Fans Of
It Lies Within‘s new album, ‘Paramount’, really should have been titled ‘Metalcore: The Album’.
No, seriously. It is 11 songs of double-tracked screams, far too many similar sounding breakdowns and auto-tuned clean vocals filling up the choruses with catchy hooks. Then, there’s the cheesy, club-like synth and electronica taking the listener back to 2008, which echoes a lot of cringe, such as crunk. Basically, all this ensures is that this record goes down the list of every cliché that this genre has/had to offer and ticks off all the boxes. Well, except for the cover of a chart-topping pop song in the vein of Punk Goes Pop – we’ve been spared that horror, thank God.
The production tricks and the mixing are all fine and they get the job done, sure, but as there have been plenty of bands, both big and small, that sound the exact same as this (both stylistically and mix wise) the album feels like a chore to listen to in most instances. Kind of like uncovering the shame and guilt of a life that’s passed you by (wow, that was dark).
Anyway, while a few of those scene/MySpace-era bands have moved on from this sound (Asking Alexandria anyone?), others have definitely embraced it over the years (blessthefall and I See Stars) and it just seems that It Lies Within are stuck way back in that era of metalcore/post-hardcore. And hey, maybe they love this kind of music, and if so, great, good for them, but there’s a reason that this style is almost unheard of in 2016.
Furthermore, bands like You And What Army and Enter Shikari made some sick music combining breakdowns, metal riffs and a butt load of synth. But there was energy and drive and most importantly, originality present there, and a lot of that is lacking here. Those bands also evolved and you know, fine-tuned their sound.
The sad part about the heavy music scene now (and perhaps all music) is that trends come and go so bloody quickly that you can blink once and what was once a synth and breakdowns combo is now either brutal, 8-string chug loving bands, progressive as fuck bands coming out the wazoo, or bands riding that melodic sound hard, with ambient guitars played over emotive screams and double kicks. *sigh*
‘Paramount’ isn’t some atrociously terrible album (i.e. one that will help make up those Top Ten Shittest albums of 2016 lists), but it’s just far too bland to make it anything but immensely generic and so middle-of-the-road at the best of times. Although, the band (or rather, the producer/engineer) does get some points for mixing some of the vocals early on in ‘Starscream’ to sound like they were an actual robot, because that was kinda cool.
1. Open Your Eyes
4. You Won’t Bury Me
5. Never Surrender
6. Reap What You Sow
7. Light The Way
8. Depths Of Struggle
9. Broken Streets
10. Trust In Yourself
11. ‘Till We Meet Again