Currents – The Place I Feel Safest


Artist

Album

The Place I Feel Safest

Label

SharpTone Records

Year

2017

Genre

For Fans Of

Wage War, Fit For A King, Structures.

Summary

Metalcore is as metalcore does.

Rating

50 / 100

At the very high-risk of rendering the rest of my review completely null with this opening sentence, ‘The Place I Feel Safest‘ – the debut album from U.S. newcomers, Currents – is an outrageously derivative metalcore record in terms of instrumentals, production, and overall musicality.

The Place I Feel Safest‘ is at its very core a heavy, punchy and overly aggressive metalcore record, but one that’s also just a mere meat and potatoes release for this copycat-like genre. On their latest effort, Currents do one thing and one thing only, and that’s writing slightly above average yet still ultimately generic metalcore. From the atmospheric guitars over the chugging foray to the over-abundance of high-gated riffs, “fiddly-widdly” parts and tonally clean licks; from the bland metalcore song structures, the usual halftime breakdowns and double time hardcore sections, the syncopated rhythmic formulas unashamedly used on nearly every single goddamn song; to the double or even tripled-tracked screams and growls or the occasional clean vocal moments thrown in to help break their heavier counterparts up – this album is so metalcore it physically hurts. But hey, at least they didn’t use any audible glass breaking samples.

Admittedly, I’ve heard a lot worse come from the genre of late – such as Ocean SleeperKingsVarialsMemphis May Fire, to name a few awfully egregious examples. However, I’ve also heard better, far more interesting examples of what metalcore can accomplish these days, such as ArchitectsAugust Burns RedSilent Planet, or even Oceans Ate Alaska’s newest record, which changed things up with a lush Japanese-flavour. Of course, don’t expect any bucking of genre trends for Currents latest, however, as this 13-track record is just fucking exhausting!

Following the virtual instrument orchestration and effects-ridden build-up of the album’s opening track, ‘Apnea‘, this Connecticut five-piece waste no time diving straight into heavy breakdowns, bouncy grooves, back-and-forth riffs, viciously pissed-off vocals, and fast palm-muted chugs, all before a very abrupt fade out closes this first track out. After this starting point, and much like Wage War’s latest recordCurrents debut LP becomes just a mere showcasing of their genre’s core conventions and very little else. Which you’ll also notice right across ‘Withered‘ and ‘Night Terrors‘, as just two other examples.

Currents

Individually, each of this album’s 13 songs are fine; they’re decent if simply stock-standard and inoffensive metalcore songs at the end of the day. But as a larger collective, these tunes create a record that has zero to offer or surprise casual or seasoned listeners; not from ‘Apnea‘ nor once you go past the fourth song, ‘Delusion‘. (And no, bringing in a higher number of clean vocals like on ‘Best Memory‘ or using melodic intros on ‘I’m Not Waiting‘ doesn’t fully alleviate this). So much so that only after a half-dozen listens through did I feel like I had extracted every ounce of depth and enjoyment that ‘The Place I Feel Safest‘ could ever hope to offer. I do feel that if this was a shorter EP and not a 13-track long record than we’d (obviously) have a more streamlined effort but also a far more memorable release on our hands. As much of a prick as it’ll make me sound, this album really is just the kind of check-listing-ticking metalcore release that angsty teenagers and edgy early twenty-somethings pit to; the people who attain a release’s sole value and merit simply by how good the mosh parts and breakdowns are.

For those listeners, ‘The Place I Feel Safest‘ will more than do the trick, even if longtime fans may still label Currents previous and slightly heavier, more djent-inclined ‘Life//Lost‘ EP as their true peak. (No matter how goddamn cringy the title track was). Yet for other listeners, like yours truly, when there are near-countless bands out there that sound like Currents that I could pick and chose from instead, if there’s nothing that eye-catching or ear-perking that makes a band truly stand out, then I won’t be sticking around for that long.

The only real saving grace this record has that truly pulls it out of the awful depths are the lyrics. The themes here are about one battling with the very worst that life can throw at you, and in this regard, Currents really strike a chord. For instance, ‘Another Life‘ is a brutal tale of neglect and addiction (“It’s hard to be a father when you’re always shooting up“), and ‘Apnea‘ – which unless I’ve misinterpreted it – is a tale of home wrecking abuse and vile sexual assault (“I heard a crash from the bedroom upstairs/you’re screaming out my name/I open the door and know our lives will never be the same/She lays in tears, he’s standing there/Climbed through the window and fled; another life left in ruin.“). These lyrics hit-hard and matched with the intense though albeit generic music, it does work, and if the band can find a more engaging, more interesting musical backdrop for such impactful themes, then we’ll have a really solid release on our hands. Just quickly, as an extension from the lyrics, and while he isn’t doing anything that different, frontman Brian Wille has a near-perfect timbre and delivery for metalcore. A weaker sounding vocalist wouldn’t have created that emotional impact needed, and Wille’s performance is one of the few things that holds this record up.

Conclusion

With generic metalcore bands like Currents and middle-of-the-road records like ‘The Place I Feel Safest’, I honestly don’t know how much more I can take of this genre these days  Think of it like this: in my editor and admin position for KYS, how many bands do you think I’ve heard in the past year alone that sound similar to these guys? The answer: too fuckin’ many! As when a genre like this can become so trite, you either come to hate or love all of it. If not that, then only a handful of bands will really grab your attention, as you inconsistently move through each new release that comes and goes. Right now, I feel like I’m the latter.

Tracklisting

1. Apnea

2. Tremor

3. Night Terrors

4. Delusion

5. Withered

6. Dreamer

7. Forget Me

8. Silence

9. Best Memory

10. Another Life

11. Shattered

‘The Place I Feel Safest’ is out now via SharpTone Records. Pick it up here. I mean, I won’t be, but you do you! 

10 Responses to “Currents – The Place I Feel Safest”

  1. Shitters

    A lot of people were harping on about this record but it didn’t do anything for me. Im definitely in the “only a handful of bands will grab your attention” crew.

    • Alex Sievers Alex Sievers

      Oh yeah, Currents are really coming through at the moment – just the right kind of generic yet familiar metalcore sound, all backed by SharpTone Records. Hopefully, future releases aren’t as boring as this thing.

  2. Firey259 Firey

    I thought this was okay when I didn’t have anything to listen to.

    Then a bunch of good shit came out.

    What’s your fave release within the past couple of years with this kinda sound, Sievers?
    Coz I like this kind a sound…just want a sick version of it

    Cheers

    • Alex Sievers Alex Sievers

      Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s a good time filler for better releases.

      Hmmmm, I’m not really sure. A lot of these bands I kinda stop caring about. I mean, in terms of off-the-wall hardcore it’d be new Helpless, JFTD, and Cursed Earth. As for metalcore like this… I don’t know. The new End EP should be sick but that takes on way heavier, darker vibes than bands like this do.

      So, to actually answer your questions Firey, I have no idea. When I do, I’ll let you know!

      • Owen Morawitz Owen Morawitz

        I find this band and this record to be extremely lack lustre. Even though I didn’t personally rate new Wage War, as an album, I find ‘Deadweight’ to be far more enjoyable than this record.

        I would say that Counterparts are probably the best band currently pushing the metalcore/melodic hardcore genre. In terms of songwriting, lyricism and technical skill, their discography is of a higher standard that most bands in the genre can’t even begin to emulate. Their debut ‘Prophets’ from 2010 is still one of the best metalcore records of this current decade imo.

  3. Naysayer_314

    I thought this album was pretty damn solid tbh. Easily as good as the recent Wage War release.

    I definitely get what you’re saying about the genre and how generic it’s getting, but I do feel as though this album sits above lots of the very boring and derivative metalcore as of late.

    Idk, just the opinion of someone who still fairly loves metalcore.

    • Alex Sievers Alex Sievers

      I love metalcore and the bands that took it further or can take it further – like Parkway, Architects, Silent Planet, Misery Signals, Oceans Ate Alaska (while I don’t love them, I reckon they’ll have one truly amazing release one day), and so on. These guys do have potential but this record was way too long for what it was. Maybe next time.

      And that’s a good point to make – I didn’t really like the new Wage War album, haha.

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