Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 10/12
I Am King
I Am King EP
Written by: TL on 30/09/2012 18:38:23
At first glance there does not seem to be much for any right-minded music fan to be excited about, when encountering the self-titled debut EP of recent Rise Records signees I Am King. The generation of colourful scene/metalcore bands picked up by especially this label recently have tended to sound like their stance towards melodies is that they are something annoying that you're forced to interrupt your breakdowns with, and adorable looks have seemed a more important requirement than talent especially where lead singers have been concerned, because after all, you can always digitally correct the shit out of your friend so nobody notices he has no talent.
As hopelessly generic as I Am King appear with their choice of genre, name and label then, it is perhaps a rather big surprise that this Pennsylvania sixtet show quite a few flashes of likeability, and that these are relatively well-integrated in between the genre's obligatory sessions of beatings and blastings. One listen to EP opener and highlight "Fortune In Your Failure" reveals this though, as a Jonny Craig-ish performance from the clean singer leads the listener through sections of both verse, chorus and bridge that each is more recognisable and singalongable than the one before it.
The musical elements on here are otherwise exactly what you'd expect, with shiny melodies meshing with chugging chords and ringing noise, all interspersed with simple tempo variations and spiced up with plentiful helpings of mid-range harsh vocals. What makes it stand out from the contemporary scene and - in truth - make you wonder how so many bands can get something relatively simple as wrong as they do - is firstly and foremostly that the various parts in I Am King's songs actually integrate with each other, creating ebb and flow rather than giving away their entire composition within the first 20 seconds. Really though, it can't be overstated how much it also helps that the clean vocals sound relatively genuine with minimal audible digital tampering, and that the band gives them room to operate in more than the usual "I scream the verse, you sing the chorus" dynamic.
Long story short: I Am King are a scenester's kind of prefix-core band, clearly and audibly, and as such, they have all the problems of one such with appearing like they have a personality of their own when lined up next to their countless contemporaries. Furthermore, they are a young band, who clearly have yet to learn to vary their moods and sounds quite enough to keep a listener constantly engaged through even just six of their songs. When that's been said though, they have the basics down pat, much more so than many of the absolutely ridiculous outfits that get signed in this genre. There's actually an enjoyable sense of musicianship here, as emphasised by the fine use of classical instruments on occassion, and these days, when one comes across such in as parched a stylistic landscape as this one, it deserves quite a bit of merit.
Download: Fortune In Your Failure, Monsters, Tell Me The Truth
For The Fans Of: A Skylit Drive, Of Mice And Men, In Fear And Faith, Yashin
Release Date Summer 2012