Kurt Vile & the Violators
Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 5/12
Written by: PP on 02/10/2012 07:02:25
As the über trendy dub step beats and dramatic synths of "Overture" introduce me to "Mind Games", the latest album by self-proclaimed 'trance metal' group Silent Descent, I'm already preparing two things inside my head: one, what's the best way to rip the band a new one in my upcoming review, and two, how do I avoid listening to this crap much longer than a few minutes. Fortunately, the band steer immediately clear of dub step straight after and produce a surprisingly catchy track in the form of "Psychotic Euphoric", a post-hardcore track with all the standard issue qualities like catchy emo croons, screamo style shrieks, some heavier growls, and one that's drowning in diverse electronic effects throughout its course. It is what it is, essentially Attack Attack! crossed with the preposterous Asking Alexandria sound and Enter Shikari's love for rave and techno, but at least it's pretty fucking catchy.
So perhaps, just perhaps, "Mind Games" isn't such a bad record after all, despite its tendency to hug every trend imaginable. The title track is a good example: its theatrical synths are like straight out of the European techno movement of the 90s, and give the song an instantly recognizable melody against which the down-tuned guitars can work their contrasting magic. There's a vibe of energy, a sense of quality and effort in songwriting that permeates the mix and makes it sound like Silent Descent actually know what they are doing instead of just pasting one monotone breakdown after the other on top of cookie monster style vocals. And that, dear readers, is where almost every one of their genre colleagues fail, as making some parts catchy and the dumbing down the rest to one chord breakdowns simply means the sound is completely recyclable and entirely fake. Now, Silent Descent aren't going to be winning any favors from me despite that because the techno element does make the sound a little too technologically driven to appeal to anyone who appreciates classic songwriting a little more than GarageBand. But if you can stuff your sound full of crazy techno keyboards, dramatic moments, whiny emo cleans and standard screams, and not manage to annoy me in 2012, you must be doing something right. And as "Coke Stars" so effectively demonstrates: the band does know how to write some fairly fancy instrumentals when they want to. And they're better at it than most bands of their kind.
All of this basically means that whether you'll like "Mind Games" or not will come down to you either swallowing your pride and admitting that some of this techno infused metal stuff can actually be pretty good, when combined with solid songwriting and some experience in production techniques etc. Or you'll lump it in the same pile as the Attack Attacks of this world and move onto music without electronics infesting it. Me? I think "Mind Games" is pretty good without being spectacular.
Download: Psychotic Euphoric, Mind Games
For the fans of: Attack Attack!, Asking Alexandria, Enter Shikari, Make Me Famous
Release date 07.05.2012