The Setup and Rise and Fall…Posted on Thursday, March 23rd, 2006 @ 11:55am » permalink
I was first exposed to Belgian metalcore act The Setup through the "Nine Kinds of Pain" 7" some time ago, which was basically a rather impressive demo that got the chance to see a proper EP pressing. Well, their debut full-length, "The Pretense of Normality", has been out for awhile now via GSR Music (formerly known as Gangstyle Records, and I can't get their website to work so I'm using a dreaded MySpace link), but I just got the chance to hear it earlier this week – thus reminding me why Gangstyle has been one of my favorite European labels for years, and that I need to stop slacking and throw down some dough for their latest releases.
Now, I know the term "metalcore" is a pretty nasty item these days, so I want to make it clear that in this case "metalcore" actually refers to a pretty wide – yet equally balanced – range of influences spanning both the metal and hardcore genres, from chugging power chord density and dissonantly layered post-hardcore textures to energetic bursts of more basic rhythm arrangements or a few slightly more melodic attributes – all the while fronted by hoarse screaming. Helping things along is the fact that every song is less than three or four minutes long, which keeps the listen flowing and makes for some surprisingly energetic moments – which is something that I tend to feel is missing from a great deal of this type of material. And that's not to say that The Setup has a commonplace sound, because they don't, but at the same time… despite such a wide span of influences and a certain sense of identity, it's a general niche that will be familiar for many listeners. I will say, though: The recording on this thing is working overtime in the band's favor, and I fuckin' love it. The bass tone alone is dead on and pulses away in the center of the mix at all times, which really thickens the blow. Any number of bands could learn from such a move, but the fact that everything else sounds crisp and warm is certainly an important factor.
I'm not being descriptive enough to do this one justice, but I don't consider these write-ups to be actual "reviews" per so, and that's the beauty of it: Listen for your damn selves and figure it out!
This is a really quality record, and there's not a great deal out there right now that falls into this particular niche of "metalcore", making this one that much more of a recommended purchase. More proof that people in the US need to look to Europe for the goods more often: