Written by: TL on 08/03/2016 20:10:13

The Swedish metalcore outfit Adept has been around for over ten years now, emerging back in 2004 as a screamo/post-hardcore outfit, but since then following their idols and friends in England's Bring Me The Horizon into metalcore territory. Their last album, "Silence The World", came out in 2013 with the new one, "Sleepless", due to follow two years later, yet a contractual conflict lead to delays, so eventually the whole album was re-recorded and released only recently on a new contract with Napalm Records.

As the cliché goes, it's hard to say Swedish music without saying melody, and indeed, Adept belong in the more melodic end of metalcore territory, at least instrumentally. Sparkling leads have always been a strength in their sound, and so they remain. Particularly on the album's first half, there's both a solid helping of tasty licks as well as lively changes of rhythm to behold, as the band switches between metalcore, hardcore and post-hardcore gears, settling occasionally into more simple patterns to make room for some choruses.

Unfortunately, it's by far the verse and bridge parts, where the guitar playing and rhythmic diversity is most apparent, which make "Sleepless" the most listenworthy, as the input from vocalist Robert Ljung leaves a lot to be desired. Ljung's aptness as a clean singer has always been basic at best, and it still is, sounding flat and, surprisingly, still quite adolescent in tone. He's always gotten by on a mix of strategically timed spoken word pieces contrasted with fierce screaming. Unfortunately, with the spoken word bits getting more cryptic as opposed to the direct and at times corny ones of the past, their urgency is harder to relate to, and the screaming and growling has only gotten more monotone and more average, as Ljung has likely learnt to play it safe after feeling the risks of being reckless with his instrument. Yet. old fans will surely yearn once more, for the impact the more skramz style made in early songs like "Let's Celebrate Gorgeous" or "Unbeliever".

This serves as a reminder that metalcore has been in an arms race since its rise to popularity, with the onus being on bands to play heavier and more technically, and to scream and growl more fiercely and powerfully, and listening to "Sleepness" it sounds like Adept - while managing to gain a step up in the technical department - has fallen a bit behind in the others. Even the production sounds a bit safe and less punchy than what you would expect these days.

Speaking of tracks, the single "Dark Cloud" is indeed likely to go down as the most catchy, with its bit of "Breathe in, breathe out" chorus, yet the preceding "Wounds" is the best showcase for the instrumental creativity the album regrettably fails overall at making the most of. As the album goes on, however, the distance grows longer between the sweet spots, and you get impatient waiting for things to come together more impressively. So while it may feel like an accomplishment to Adept themselves to have cleared their legal issues and gotten the record out, creatively it feels like they haven't moved much since 2013, and it's hard to say what they need to do to renew a sense of relevancy to their band - But Ljung pushing himself to write and perform parts that compliment the instruments more dynamically seems like a good start.


Download: Wounds, Dark Clouds
For The Fans Of: Annisokay, Architects, Bring Me The Horizon, Akissforjersey

Release date 19.02.2016
Napalm Records

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