I See Stars

New Demons

Written by: PP on 19/12/2013 22:07:49

As far as electronic post-hardcore goes, well, I've never really found myself at home in the genre. All the crazy effect-laden keyboards and dance rhythms have always felt alien to me in a genre that I was introduced to through Alexisonfire and Saosin records back in the day, so adding trendy and hip ideas from the burgeoning electronic music scene felt little else than gimmicky in my ears. Not so with I See Stars, who continue to tick all the generic check boxes on paper from compressed breakdowns to heavy-duty electronic segments intertwining their high pitch emo croons and cookie-cutter growls, yet are able to bridge together passages in a manner far more intelligent than their peers in, for example, Attack Attack! or Asking Alexandria.

Call it good songwriting or just a different way of arranging these elements together, but fourth album "New Demons" is yet more proof that I See Stars are light years ahead of their like-minded competition. And it's not like they aren't all-in on the electronic effects trend: the title track for instance is heavy on brazen electronics, ranging from the wildest bass-drops dubstep style adding oomph to the breakdowns to insane trance/eurodance segments adding catchy melody to back the clean vocal sections. "Violent Bounce (People Like You)" sees some heavy electronics modification added to the vocals in the beginning and near the midway of the song, as well as more synth/effects trickery that I normally associate with something like Tomorrowland or even a Pendulum show than with post-hardcore. In fact, on more than on one occasion I'm thinking this is how Pendulum would probably sound like if they were a post-hardcore band.

Usually the above description goes hand-in-hand with talk of copy/paste songwriting and bands sounding way too artificial for their own good, but I See Stars have found a way to embed the frankly outrageous electronic effects in a more organic manner. When the frenzied dubstep passages do appear, they always feel like they belong to the soundscape and add another dimension to it instead of functioning merely as distractions from otherwise weak songwriting, a problem for many other bands playing this style. This is evident in the fact that even more conventional, metalcore oriented songs like "Ten Thousand Feet" are still good songs, even with less immersive effects embedded than those in songs like "Crystal Ball", which is by far the most dance/dubstep/electronic song on the record, despite its punishing breakdowns. Have a listen, and imagine the kind of party this type of a song is bound to start in a live environment.

It's a tell-tale sign that my favorite tracks on "New Demon" are those with most electronic effects, simply because they feel richer and more detailed in their soundscapes than the standard fare electronic metalcore stuff the band does lapse into on a couple of songs. And while "New Demons" is still not among the best post-hardcore releases this year, it's a solid release that ought to shut the mouth on critics of electronic effects in songs. Forget Attack Attack, this is how it's done right.

Download: Crystal Ball, New Demons, Violent Bounce (People Like You), Murder Mitten
For the fans of: In Fear And Faith, Asking Alexandria, Jamie's Elsewhere, Attack Attack!, Pendulum
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.10.2013
Sumerian Records

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